The first Eastern Derby of the season has arrived.
Head-to-head in their last 18 meetings, the Stags are the superior side with twelve wins compared to the Eagles four. That’s three times more!
Fatigue is a word no doubt to be paired with us. The derby will be our third game in the week, having previously played Warriors on Saturday in the S.League, and Hanoi on Tuesday in the AFC Cup. Geylang, on the other hand, played their last competitive game nearly a month ago on 10 March, where they drew against Warriors. Having said that, it is safe to say that Geylang will go into this derby fresher and more well-rested compared to us.
Not only that, the recent international break saw us with seven players called up compared to Geylang’s three. Unfortunately, international duty saw our golden man Khairul Amri suffer an injury during the Bahrain game. However, we can say that Amri is back in training and is looking good. More injuries came for the Stags after international break. Our first S.League game back against Warriors saw Imran Sahib and Hafiz Rahim being stretchered off the pitch; with Ismadi Mukhtar also suffering an injury. Only three days later against Hanoi, we saw more of our players being stretchered off — captain Madhu Mohana, and Izwan Mahbud (who was stretchered off after the game).
This is Geylang’s first home match of the season, but instead of it being played at their home stadium, Bedok, it will be played at Jalan Besar. The venue had to be changed as a carnival is being held at Geylang’s home stadium tonight.
This will be a special game for our defender, Daniel Bennett. He was a key player for Geylang last season, but the club decided not to renew his contract. Although some pressure may be taken off him by not having to play at Bedok, he still has something to prove tonight against his former club.
Geylang’s head coach, Hasrin Jailani, was seen at our AFC Cup game against Hanoi on Tuesday night at Jalan Besar Stadium. Tonight will be the first time Geylang play at Jalan Besar Stadium this season, and it will serve as a slight advantage to us, having already played there. We are currently fifth on the table with six points, and Geylang are seventh with four.
Jamil Ali is our only player suspended, having received a red card in our 1-0 win against Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh Stadium.
Despite the disadvantage of many injured players and fatigue, our squad is full of depth. Yes, many of our players may be out, but the rest of the squad are ready to step up and play with all their heart for their, and our club — Tampines Rovers.
Kickoff for the Eastern Derby is 7:30pm. Tickets for the game can be bought on match-day from the JBS ticket counter. Come down to Jalan Besar Stadium today, 8 April, to support our team — the Stags!
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