Tampines Rovers head to Malaysia on Tuesday to face Selangor as they look to build on their victory in the opening week of the 2016 AFC Cup.
The Singapore outfit top Group E after securing a 4-0 victory over Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi last month, while their opponents this week registered a 2-2 draw with Ceres in their opener after Adrián Gallardo grabbed an 87th-minute equaliser for the Philippines side.
The Stags have been in good form on the domestic front too, winning two and drawing one of their opening three S. League matches. Much of the pre-season hype surrounded the arrival of former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, and the Englishman has started to hit his stride, scoring in his last two matches.
— Tampines Rovers FC (@MightyStags) March 6, 2016
It’s against Selangor that Tampines are likely to find their toughest test in the group stages. Selangor will be seething after suffering a humiliating 2-1 defeat to third-tier PDRM FA in the Malaysia FA Cup, and will be looking to bounce back strongly on Tuesday. “It has always been tough playing away in Malaysia because Malaysian teams tend to play better at home,” said Tampines coach V. Sundramoorthy. “Selangor is a good side with good quality local players and playing away will not be easy for us. “But we will be looking to go out there and give a good match against Selangor.”
Their cup exit aside, the men from Malaysia have made a promising start to the season, and top the league standings on goal difference after going unbeaten in their first four matches, but just two clean sheets thus far in the campaign is cause for concern.
Head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan will have to contend with a lengthy injury list, though, with defender Robert Cornthwaite, and midfielders Hazwan Bakri and Andik Vermansyah also likely to miss out.
“Preparation was tight due to the fixture congestion we’ve had, but I will field the best available team of players who are fit and ready physically and mentally,” said Hassan.
“We have to take advantage of playing at home and try to get the desired result and we are focused on achieving our mission of getting a good result in the AFC Cup.”
Tampines have no such injury worries, and V. Sundramoorthy should have a full squad at his disposal.
Catch Selangor vs Tampines Rovers live on FOX Sports from 8:30 pm HKT