Singapore Premier League • February 27, 2020
Singapore Premier League Week 1: Preview
SINGAPORE, 27 FEBRUARY 2020 – At long last, the 2020 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season is set to get underway. Albirex Niigata (S) host Geylang International on Saturday evening to usher in the 25th season. A day later, the Young Lions will entertain Hougang United at their new home in Jurong West while title contenders Tampines Rovers welcome Balestier Khalsa to round off the opening week of action.
Albirex vs Geylang | 29 Feb | 5.30pm | Jurong East | SingTel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Albirex are expected to be at full-strength, with the likes of Gareth Low and Daniel Goh in line to make their debuts for the White Swans. Midfield playmaker Ryoya Taniguchi and skilful forward Tomoyuki Doi have been in good scoring form in pre-season.
Geylang forward Amy Recha is unavailable due to suspension while Harith Kanadi, Muhd Noor Ariff and Nur Luqman Rahman are doubts. New signing Khairul Nizam should be fit to start after recovering from a concussion sustained in last Sunday’s 3-1 friendly defeat to Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta.
- The two sides also met in the opening game of last season, with Geylang prevailing 1-0.
- Geylang have not scored in their last nine visits to Jurong East in all competitions.
- Geylang have not won in their last 16 visits to the venue – their last victory there was a 2-1 success back in May 2010.
Young Lions vs Hougang | 1 Mar | 5.30pm | Jurong West | SingTel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: A new-look Young Lions side under the tutelage of Nazri Nasir are out to make an impression, with no big injury issues to contend with. Ilhan Fandi is the stand-out but look out for fellow attacker Rezza Rezky, who has scored four goals in six pre-season games.
Hougang should similarly be at full strength, with towering Australian defender Zac Anderson and English midfielder Charlie Machell set to make their SPL debuts. New local attackers Sahil Suhaimi and Shawal Anuar will also be looking to get off the mark.
- The last time both sides met on the opening weekend was in 2018, with Young Lions running out 2-0 winners at Jalan Besar.
- Hougang have only won one of their last six encounters against the Young Lions.
- The last time Hougang won their opening league game was in 2017, when they defeated Geylang 2-0 at home.
Tampines vs Balestier | 1 Mar | 5.30pm | Our Tampines Hub | SingTel Ch 112, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Tampines are targeting their first league title since 2013 but will have to start without captain Yasir Hanapi, who is suspended. Japanese playmaker Kyoga Nakamura and Montenegrin forward Boris Kopitovic have impressed and will look to replicate their AFC Cup exploits on the domestic front.
Last season’s bottom-placed side Balestier will make do without the suspended Kristijan Krajček. However they can still call upon the services of new foreign recruits in the form of 2018 Golden Boot winner Shuhei Hoshino and 1.96m Serbian centre-back Ensar Brunčević.
- Balestier have not won in any of their four visits to OTH.
- Balestier are win-less against Tampines in their last 12 league encounters, with their last victory coming in a 4-3 success at Toa Payoh back in November 2015.
- Jordan Webb has scored in each of his last three matches against Balestier in all competitions.