Geylang’s Shawal demands focus to avoid sixth straight loss to Albirex

Geylang International winger Shawal Anuar wants his team to avoid a sixth straight loss to Albirex Niigata FC (S) on Saturday.

The equation is simple. A defeat for Geylang International against Albirex Niigata FC (S) on Saturday at the Jurong East Stadium will be a sixth consecutive loss at the hands of the White Swans.

To compound matters, the Eagles are stuck at the bottom of the Singapore Premier League after a dismal opening few weeks. A result this weekend will go a long way in boosting their confidence.

BACKGROUND: SPL leaders Albirex will be gunning for a sixth straight win against Geylang in all competitions as they look to pile more misery on their beleaguered opponents on Saturday.

Their last defeat to the Bedok-based side came in a 1-0 reverse in the League Cup in July 2016 and since then, the White Swans have scored 18 goals whilst conceding just two in their last five encounters.

This season, Albirex have showcased a brand of football to thrill the crowds and remain the only side with a 100 percent record as they find themselves five points clear of Tampines Rovers FC at the top.

They go into this match following an impressive 6-1 victory over Home United FC slightly over a week ago but skipper Wataru Murofushi is demanding more from his teammates.

“I’m not exactly pleased with the team’s performance so far,” he said.

“Result-wise, of course, it’s good (that we have won four matches) but we still have to work on improving our play – both individually and together as a team.”

Geylang are meanwhile rooted to the foot of the table with just one point from five matches. Their poor start to the season continued after successive 4-1 losses to Brunei DPMM FC and Home.

Against the Protectors the last time out, Hirotaka Usui’s charges trailed by four goals at the break but came up with a spirited second-half performance to pull one back through Shawal Anuar, although it proved nothing but a mere consolation.

Having featured in the Eagles’ four matches so far, Shawal is keen for his side to learn from their past mistakes with an improved display.

“We must be more alert from the first whistle and stay focused throughout the 90 minutes. We cannot afford to concede early goals,” noted the forward, who turns 27 on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a tough match, no doubt about that… But we will definitely put in the hard work (required) and do our very best to get something out of this game.”

It ended 7-2 in favour of Albirex the last time both met in November 2017 but with the White Swans riding high at the moment as well as a proud home record to preserve, it is not hard to see the winner here.

HIGHLIGHTS: SPL – Geylang International 1-4 Home United

Home United Football Club were in devastating form as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Geylang International FC in the @SiGreat Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League at the weekend.

Posted by FOX SPORTS Asia on Sunday, 22 April 2018

 

TEAM NEWS: Albirex defender Shun Kumagai – who missed their win over Home – remains sidelined due to a knee problem, while Geylang will continue to be without Anders Aplin who is out with a groin strain.

FORM GUIDE:

Albirex: WWWWW
Geylang: DLLLL

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

17/11/17: Geylang 2-7 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
05/08/17: Albirex 5-0 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
18/07/17: Albirex 4-0 Geylang – League Cup
11/05/17: Geylang 0-1 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
22/09/16: Albirex 1-0 Geylang – Singapore Premier League

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:

Shuhei Hoshino – Albirex

Taking over the no. 9 shirt from 2017 top scorer Tsubasa Sano, he has shown signs that he could well emulate the achievements of his predecessor, having struck three goals in four matches so far.

The burly forward’s physical presence coupled with good link-up play with his teammates means he is one man the Geylang defence will have to keep an eye to prevent Albirex from running riot.

Yuki Ichikawa – Geylang

One of the shining lights in an otherwise woeful Geylang side this term, the lanky Japanese defender is the epitome of consistency. Dangerous in aerial situations, Ichikawa is not only solid at the back but can also be pushed up as an emergency forward when his team is chasing the game.

Coming up against his former employers, Ichikawa will certainly have a point or two to prove.

WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:

Albirex Captain Wataru Murofushi: “As team captain, I do not need to say anything (much to them) because everyone understands for sure that it will not be an easy game. Geylang might not have beaten us in their five matches but we still have to give our all for the upcoming match.”

Geylang forward Shawal Anuar: “Obviously we are down (but not out)… We are not going to give up without a fight and come back stronger (from this setback).

“Yes we will go into this tie as underdogs but we still have the faith in each other (to bounce back). I believe that we can do so, as long as we work as a team and improve from our previous games.”

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