By: Alia Harvey
Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League 2017
Warriors v. Tampines Rovers
22 June (Thursday), 8:30pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium
Warriors will host us tonight at Choa Chu Kang Stadium, our second last league game this month of June. Fresh from a 3-1 victory over Balestier Khalsa on Saturday, we look to continue our winning streak as we face the Rhinos. With us on 24 points and Warriors with 20, we aim for nothing less than a win to prevent the Rhinos from being just a point behind us.
What’s our form at the moment?
After a 4-1 defeat to current leaders Albirex Niigata, we recovered well with a 3-0 victory over Hougang United before the international break, and resumed with yet another win over Balestier Khalsa.
Our victory on Saturday night brought us up to second place, with eight wins and three losses. Despite missing key players due to injury, we will no doubt be looking to extend our winning run against a strong and experienced Warriors side.
What’s Warriors’s form at the moment?
Having just lost 4-1 to Boeung Ket FC from Cambodia in the RHB Singapore Cup at the end of May, Warriors bounced back and resumed the league after the international break on a high. Shahril Ishak ensured his team walked away with all three points, scoring both goals in their 2-0 victory over Geylang International.
Despite missing key player Jordan Webb for a few games with injury, the Warriors have coped well and proved the depth and experience they have in their team. Jordan is said to be fit again to face us tonight, his club last season.
Past encounters with Warriors?
In our last 21 meetings, both teams are equally dominate with nine wins each. Three of our clashes have been draws. We were undefeated by Warriors last season in the league, but the Warriors ensured this wasn’t the case this year, and won 1-0 back in April. Our most exciting game last season would have to be our 4-2 victory over the Rhinos at Jurong West Stadium on 30 April.
Billy Mehmet opened the account in the 38th minute, before Hafiz Nor equalised just four minutes later. Ridhuan Muhammad’s goal in the 45th minute ensured the Warriors took a 2-1 lead at halftime. However, it wasn’t over for the Stags.
Star player Jermaine Pennant was substituted on for Christopher Van Huizen at halftime, and we saw first choice goalkeeper get a straight red in the 50th minute. Jermaine made an almost immediate impact, easily slotting home a penalty in the 54th minute to level the game.
It was an even game for 20 minutes, with both sides equally getting chances, before returning Stags man Hafiz Abu Sujad made it 3-2. With a narrow one goal lead, Hafiz sealed the game for us in the 87th minute, scoring yet again, and allowing us to walk off 4-2 winners with all three points.
The last time we faced Warriors?
When we faced Warriors back in April, we saw the returns of Ismadi Mukhtar and Madhu Mohana from suspension, but were missing Jamil Ali who had received a red card in our game before against Balestier Khalsa. The game ended 1-0 to the Warriors, with former Stags man Jordan Webb scoring the only goal of the game in the 28th minute, ensuring his new club secured all three points.
Khairul Amri is still out with injury, and will miss tonight’s game against the Warriors. Madhu Mohana, who badly clashed with Balestier Khalsa player Jonathan Tan on Saturday, will also be out for tonight’s game against his former club.
However, we will see the return of Shakir Hamzah, who returns from his two-game suspension tonight. After nine months out, we will highly likely also see the return of Fazrul Nawaz tonight, who has been in training with us for nearly a month.
Another piece of big news, is the return of Hafiz Sujad. Hafiz signed with us for the 2016 season, after the disbandment of LionsXII. We allowed him to leave us, and move to Thailand for to play for BBCU in the Thai League 2. With that club withdrawing from the league with immediate effect back in April, we signed Hafiz again when the S.League transfer window opened.
During the transfer window, we also signed 23 year old defender Shannon Stephen, and 21 year old midfielder Ehvin Sasidharan.
How’s the S.League table looking?
Following our victory over Balestier Khalsa last Saturday, we moved back up to second place with 24 points. 2016 Champions Albirex Niigata sit comfortably at the top of the table, and remain undefeated, with 31 points. Home United trail us just a point behind at third. This evening’s opponents, Warriors, sit at fourth with 20 points. Geylang International are fifth with 14 points, and Hougang United are sixth with 13. Bottom three Balestier Khalsa, Brunei DPMM, and Garena Young Lions have still yet to make double digits, with six, four, and one points respectively, the same as last week.
Other S.League fixtures this week?
Garena Young Lions v. Balestier Khalsa [22 June, Jalan Besar Stadium]
Albirex Niigata v. Home United [23 June, Jalan Besar Stadium]