Warriors aim to break seven-game winless streak against Albirex Niigata

Warriors have five points from a possible 21 in the Singapore Premier League and will entertain Albirex Niigata FC (S) this weekend.

The same broken record has been playing for seven match days as Warriors FC continue to search for their first Singapore Premier League (SPL) win.

Another opportunity will come this Sunday when league leaders Albirex Niigata FC (S) visit Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

BACKGROUND: After seven games played, Mirko Grabovac and his charges remain one of the three sides in the SPL without a win to their name and it is safe to say that it hasn’t been the best of starts to the season for them.

The nine-time league champions find themselves languishing in seventh, having garnered only five points out of a possible 21. In the grand scheme of things, they have not tasted victory since a 2-1 triumph over Home United FC in October 2017 and is on an unwanted run they will be keen to eradicate.

However, recent matches have given them hope that they could soon turn the corner with their latest result a 3-3 draw against Home last week where they needed a header from forward Jonathan Behe to earn a late point.

Midfielder Ammirul Emmran admitted this run is “frustrating” but believes they can cope with the threat Albirex are going to pose.

“We could have won most of our games in the first round, but we have learnt to pick ourselves up together as a team and shown more focus and concentration,” said the 23-year-old.

“It will be a tough approach against Albirex because we are all aware of how they will play which is their quick passing. But we have nothing to lose as Albirex have been on a good run so far and I am looking forward to getting something against them (at home).”

The return of four-goal Behe has also coincided with Warriors’ resurgence, with the team creating chances and looking more dangerous on the attack.

“Behe has been tremendous and a huge asset to the team,” Ammirul added. “He’s come back from injury by scoring and hopefully he will get crucial goals (again) to help us get a result.”

Albirex meanwhile are in irresistible form, having won all six games played this term. The White Swans toiled to a narrow 1-0 victory over Hougang United FC the last time out with full-back Kenya Takahashi netting the all-important goal 15 minutes from the end to continue their fine start to the season.

With the chance to go eleven points clear of Tampines Rovers FC at the top, midfielder Taku Morinaga has urged his teammates to put up another performance worthy of the three points.

“Even though it was a difficult game for us against Hougang, the most important thing was to win the game in whatever circumstances,” Morinaga reflected. “Thus, I’m glad we came away with it despite not being at our best and we will work even harder as we know Warriors are a team we cannot take lightly.”

It is worth noting Kazuaki Yoshinaga’s men have won their past five meetings against Warriors and the latter will certainly be itching to set things straight.

TEAM NEWS: Warriors will welcome Ismadi Mukhtar back from suspension, although long-term absentee Khairul Nizam continues to be sidelined with a knee injury. Defender Delwinder Singh will join Nizam on the treatment table after pulling his hamstring in the game against Home.

For Albirex, defender Shun Kumagai is the only player who has been ruled out. He faces about another two months on the sidelines, having recently undergone surgery for a meniscus tear in his knee.

FORM GUIDE:

Warriors: DDLDD
Albirex: WWWWW

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

03/11/17: Albirex 5-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
29/07/17: Warriors 1-2 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
21/07/17: Albirex 1-0 Warriors – League Cup
10/07/17: Albirex 2-0 Warriors – League Cup
29/04/17: Albirex 4-2 Warriors – Singapore Premier League

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:

Tajeli Salamat – Warriors

An industrious player, the utility man signed for Warriors a month ago and made his debut in their 1-1 draw against Hougang where he slotted in left midfield. Since then, his versatility has seen him being deployed in a number of positions on the pitch with his ability to put in a good cross making him an asset to the team.

Adam Swandi – Albirex

It is just six games into the season for the White Swans but the Singapore international has not looked out of place at all. Showing good understanding with his teammates, he has taken to life at Albirex like duck to water with two goals and three assists to his name.

His impressive performances have not gone unnoticed, having made the SPL Team of the Week for three straight weeks and the 22-year-old will be eager to continue impressing.

WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:

Warriors midfielder Ammirul Emmran: “I’m thankful to the coaches and management for the belief they have shown in me since I joined the club. I have learnt a lot while playing most of the matches so far alongside the more experienced players in the team.

“As a young player, I’m expected to do more and I feel I have a lot to work on and I want to contribute to the team to the best of my abilities. I just finished my National Service (NS) recently so I have no excuses but to train harder and give my 100% when given the chance.”

Albirex midfielder Taku Morinaga: “I feel that we can still link our attacks better, like having a variation of attacks from the wings or down in the middle of the park to get more chances.

“It is also important that we focus on our own game play. We will do our best to take the three points to continue our good run. The next three games will be away from home for us and even though it’s tough, it is still important and we are raring to go.”

Photo credit: Warriors Football Club Facebook

Comments