Warriors FC must hope Jonathan Behe recovers from injury if they are to seal a first Singapore Premier League win against Young Lions.
Any doubts that the Young Lions will take the Singapore Premier League lightly were proved wrong when they put two past Hougang United to claim their first three points of the season.
This Sunday’s away fixture against Warriors FC at Choa Chu Kang Stadium will be another opportunity for Fandi Ahmad’s charges to show that they mean business.
BACKGROUND: The two teams have had contrasting starts to the season, with Young Lions beating Hougang 2-0 for their first win of the season while Warriors were held to a 1-1 away draw by Geylang International FC.
Fandi Ahmad’s side will certainly be brimming with confidence coming into this one, after they showed grit and played good attacking football to get their 2018 SPL campaign off to a flyer at home.
Captain Taufiq Muqminin in particular, stood out as he assisted the first goal for Joshua Pereira before popping up at the other end to score with a well-taken strike.
On the other hand, Warriors could easily have come away with all three points against 10-man Geylang but had to contend with a share of the spoils after Ryan Syaffiq cancelled out Jonathan Behe’s opener.
The result could however have been different for the nine-time league champions if not for their profligacy in front of goal.
Despite getting his name on the scoresheet, returning French forward Behe was guilty of squandering a host of chances to put the game to bed.
Although it is still early days in the SPL, expect this encounter to be an evenly poised one as Mirko Grabovac’s charges look to notch their first win in their quest for a tenth league title.
TEAM NEWS: While Asshukrie Wahid steps up his recovery from injury, playmaker Hami Syahin will return from suspension after sitting out against Hougang.
For the Warriors, Behe is likely to miss out after pulling his hamstring against the Eagles and will join fellow forward Khairul Nizam on the treatment table. Utility man Shamil Sharif could be involved once again after coming off the bench.
Young Lions: LLLLW
14/10/17 – Warriors 0-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
28/06/17 – Young Lions 0-0 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
08/04/17 – Warriors 4-3 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
26/08/16 – Warriors 5-2 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
12/05/16 – Young Lions 3-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:
Ho Wai Loon – Warriors
A left-sided player by trade, Ho has made the central midfield position his own in recent times.
His tenacity coupled with a never-say-die attitude makes him a suitable fit for this role which he is currently relishing in. He also packs a shot with his left foot and has the ability to whip in a good cross or two.
Prakash Raj – Young Lions
If his professional debut on Wednesday was anything to go by, the 20-year-old certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Deployed on the right of a three-man defence against Hougang, Prakash was a composed figure alongside Taufiq and Irfan Fandi. Given slightly more freedom to push forward, he used that to his advantage as he managed to deliver a few decent crosses into the box for the attackers to get onto the end of it.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:
Warriors defender Ismadi Mukhtar: “To come away with just a point after playing so well against Geylang was disappointing and wasn’t the best of results for us. Also, we failed to take our chances and were punished for that.
“For the game on Sunday, we are more determined and hungrier to get our first three points (at home) and I’m sure the boys are going to work harder to get the win which is going to be massive.”
Young Lions midfielder Joshua Pereira: “Of course we’re hoping to get a positive result once again. It is definitely going to be tough, no doubt about it, but we just have to believe (in ourselves) and stick to whatever our coaches have for us.
“We also have a lot of room for improvement, in terms of keeping the ball and getting forward. More importantly, we have to learn how to be stronger both physically and mentally to cope with the pressure and be able to withstand our own.”
Photo credit: Warriors Football Club Facebook