Standby for the first Uniformed Derby of the 2018 Singapore Premier League season as Home United entertain Warriors FC on Saturday.
It has not been an easy start to the Singapore Premier League season for Warriors FC and the team from Choa Chu Kang will need to put on a good show in the Uniformed Derby against Home United at Bishan Stadium on Saturday if they are to contend for a AFC Cup spot.
Over in the Protectors camp, AIdil Sharin’s charges have played some scintillating football but are also prone to lapses in concentration at the back which resulted in them dropping points.
BACKGROUND: As the saying goes, a two-goal lead is a dangerous one in football and it was proven in two out of the three SPL midweek fixtures.
Home were looking good for the three points after going 3-1 up midway through the second half, but Hougang United FC struck twice in the final 20 minutes to salvage an unlikely draw.
It was a similar storyline for the Warriors as they raced into a 2-0 lead after just eight minutes, but Brunei DPMM FC struck one apiece in each half to ensure they collect a share of the spoils.
That set things up nicely for the SPL’s first Uniformed Derby as the two sides licking their wounds meet at Bishan Stadium for the first time since August 2016. That night, the Protectors strolled to a 3-0 victory courtesy of a Ken Ilso brace and a Song Ui-young strike in Aidil Sharin’s first game in charge.
Currently in fifth and eight points adrift of leaders Albirex Niigata FC (S), Home needs a win in this one to stay within catching distance. However with an important AFC Cup zonal semi-final first leg coming up against Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta in three days’ time, Aidil is likely to rest a few key players.
Thus the likes of Hafiz Nor, Christopher Van Huizen and Arshad Shamim may well feature against the Warriors, as they look to bounce back from the disappointing result against Hougang.
“That result felt like a loss to us because we lost concentration in the dying minutes of the game,” utility man Fazli Ayob told FOX Sports Asia. “To win games, we need to maintain our level of performance from the first minute till the final minute.
“Warriors have a lot of talented attacking players, so it will be good if we can redeem ourselves by winning the game and getting a clean sheet. A good result against our arch-rivals will undoubtedly give us the confidence to face Persija.”
As Mirko Grabovac’s Warriors, they are stuck in seventh with four points and are still waiting for their first win after six matches. In three of those, they led at half time only to be pegged back by an equaliser after the break – something which they have to find a quick remedy for.
“That’s been the story of our season – throwing away two points when we’re supposed to win,” commented defender Delwinder Singh. “Definitely we need to make our chances upfront count and cut out those silly errors at the back from now on.”
“Home is a good side with many good players, but we’ve been improving and we will surely give them a good fight in this Uniformed Derby.”
Based on the history books, we are likely to see goals in this one with the net bulging at least once in the last 24 head-to-head encounters in all competitions. One have to go back all the way to November 2010 for the last goalless draw between both sides.
What a game at Hougang Stadium! Home United Football Club let slip a two-goal lead to allow Hougang United Football Club (HGFC) to snatch a point in their 3-3 Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League draw on Wednesday.
Posted by FOX SPORTS Asia on Wednesday, 2 May 2018
Defenders Sirina Camara and Abdil Qaiyyim remains on the treatment table for Home, while Shakir Hamzah is unlikely to play a part due to a hamstring injury sustained against Hougang.
With Camara and Shakir out, Fazli is likely to deputise at left-back for the Protectors.
In the Warriors camp, defender Ismadi Mukhtar continues to miss out as he is serving the second of a two-match suspension while forward Khairul Nizam is not expected to be fit until June.
Club captain Kento Fukuda is also likely to be out for a few weeks after hurting his hamstring the last time out, but Emmeric Ong is back from suspension and may well wear the Warriors armband.
Home United FC: WLWWD
Warriors FC: LDDLD
27/10/17 Warriors 2-1 Home – Singapore Premier League
25/07/17 Home 1-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
07/07/17 Warriors 4-3 Home – League Cup
22/04/17 Warriors 2-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
04/08/16 Home 3-0 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:
Hafiz Nor (Home United FC)
The pint-sized winger to starting to make an impact in his second spell with the Protectors, scoring two goals in the 4-1 win over Geylang International FC before making an immediate impact as a sub against Hougang to set up Shahril Ishak for the team’s third goal of the night. The 29-year-old’s searing pace and crossing ability will be a real threat to the Warriors’ backline.
Poh Yi Feng (Warriors FC)
It has been so far so good personally for Poh, who has started five out of the six Warriors’ games this season and already exceeded his minutes on the pitch in the 2017 campaign under Razif Onn. The combative 31-year-old midfielder showed that he has a keen eye for the pass as well, with a superb through ball for Sahil Suhaimi to score against DPMM.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:
Home midfielder Fazli Ayob: “I enjoy contributing to the team, be it playing as a wing-back or as a central midfielder. It’s time for me to step up to take Camara and Shakir’s role while they’re out. Of course it’ll be good if I can keep that spot for myself. Given the tight schedule in May, I hope I can stay injury-free and help the team as much as possible.”
Warriors defender Delwinder Singh: “It’s sad that Kento is injured because I’ve learnt a lot from playing alongside him (in central defence) and I hope he’ll be back with the team soon. Results is important and we really want to change our current situation. We’ve been working really hard for these past few months and I hope our efforts will pay off with a first win this Saturday.”
Photo credit: Warriors FC Facebook