Singapore Premier League • April 9, 2018

Singapore Premier League Preview: Balestier Khalsa FC vs Young Lions

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Rusyaidi Salime, in action against Balestier last season here, and his Young Lions team-mates will aim to continue their good run.

SINGAPORE, 9 APRIL 2018The Young Lions are eyeing a third win on the bounce in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) when they take on Balestier Khalsa FC at Toa Payoh Stadium on Wednesday night, April 11. The match will kick off at 7.45pm.

BACKGROUND The question on everyone’s lips is whether the Young Lions can make it three successive victories in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League.

After beating Hougang United FC and Warriors FC, Fandi Ahmad’s charges find themselves in uncharted territory as they lead the pack, ahead of Albirex Niigata FC (S) on goal difference.

That has seen the Young Lions, who finished bottom in 2017, not only equal their total point tally of six from last year but also keep two clean sheets in a row.

This being their third game in the space of a week, fatigue could set in for the visitors.

Balestier, on the other hand, remain in search of their first win of the season after suffering a 3-1 loss to Home United FC in their opening fixture before falling 1-0 at the hands of Albirex.

In those two games, they managed to put in encouraging performances but found themselves on the wrong end of defeat and are rooted at the foot of the table.

Marko Kraljevic’s side will certainly be hoping for improved fortunes this time and will fancy their chances against the Young Lions, with their record in the past ten meetings standing at seven wins, one draw and just two defeats.

TEAM NEWS Apart from the injured Asshukrie Wahid, Fandi will have a full squad to choose from, although a hectic schedule could see him making personnel changes. Balestier do not have any major injury problems and there are no suspensions for either side.

FORM GUIDE
Balestier: LLWLL
Young Lions: LLLWW

PREVIOUS MEETINGS
20/09/17:
Young Lions 0-1 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
22/06/17:
Young Lions 0-0 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
02/04/17: 
Balestier 1-0 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
05/08/16:
Young Lions 1-3 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
21/04/16:
Balestier 2-0 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Noor Akid Nordin – Balestier
Owing to league regulations this season, Noor Akid has found himself getting much more game time at Balestier, where he has truly flourished.

Having started in both of their league games to date, the winger – who was part of the Tigers squad in the 2015 Asian Football Confederation Cup – has been a livewire down the left with his mazy runs capable of causing problems for opposing defences.

Rusyaidi Salime – Young Lions
The right-back has been deployed primarily as a central midfielder for the Young Lions this season, but that has not stopped him from making an impact.

In turn, Rusyaidi seems to have added a new dimension to his game and is now a threat from dead ball situations. He was unlucky not to have scored against Warriors in the first half when his free-kick came off the post but then provided the well-flighted delivery for Irfan Fandi to head home the winner.

WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Balestier forward Keegan Linderboom:
“We are very eager to get points on the board and it has been disappointing not to have at least gotten a point from our first two games.

“I thought we were a bit unlucky against Albirex. Had I scored the penalty, it would have been a different game but that’s football.

“I feel we just need to understand each other better and try to create more chances as we have not done that so far. It’s not easy but we need to move on fast, keep the team spirit high and I believe we will get there.”

Young Lions goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad: “Of course it’s going to be tough (playing three games in seven days) but with the proper rest and recovery, we will all be prepared for what’s ahead and I believe we are up to the task.

“After two clean sheets in a row, I’m confident a third can follow with the help of my defence who have been doing a fantastic job (in front of me).

“It is essential we remain grounded and know what our main target and roles are. More importantly, we must not take things lightly and the results will definitely come.”

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