News • July 30, 2016
The New Paper League Cup 2016: Wasps And White Swans Meet In Battle Of The Champions
Written by: Shawn Lim
The New Paper League Cup Final
Brunei DPMM vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(Saturday, 30 July, 8pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Two champions will meet on Saturday night in The New Paper League Cup final at Jalan Besar Stadium as holders Albirex Niigata (S) look to retain their title against current Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League holders Brunei DPMM.
It has been a perfect year for the White Swans on all fronts thus far, topping their League Cup group and qualifying for the semi-finals with a game to spare.
The Japanese side are also currently leading the pack at the summit of the S.League table and are also in the RHB Singapore Cup semi-finals.
With a chance to win a treble this season at stake, Albirex coach Naoki Naruo is eager to achieve that feat and has said that motivation is high at the club as they prepare to win the League Cup for the second straight year.
No clubs have managed to achieve a back to back League Cup win in the nine-year history of the competition and if the White Swans retain the title on Saturday night, they will tie the Wasps’ record of three League Cups won.
Brunei DPMM coach Steve Kean has warned that the White Swans are a dangerous side, but is quietly confident that his charges can neutralise the Japanese side.
The League Cup is also the only trophy the Wasps have a shot of winning this season, after seeing their hopes of retaining the S.League title evaporate and getting knocked out of the Singapore Cup by Ceres La Salle.
Kean has also made decided to make a tactical switch midway through the season after watching his side shipping in tons of goals, going from an attacking 5-3-2 formation which DPMM won the title with, to a counter-attacking 3-5-2 formation.
That has allowed the Wasps to keep three clean sheets in their last five matches and they are currently on a four-game winning run, which they are looking to extend with the return of playmaker Paulo Sergio from suspension.
“They have a lot of players who can move the ball on the ground quickly and they have so much technical abilities that they can find a pass even in tight situations,” said the Scot.
“So we need to be tighter at the back and we have shown that we are now dangerous on the counter-attack.
“It is good that we have Paulo Sergio back now because it helps us in our attack and gives the opposition much more to think about.”
Albirex will miss the services of influential midfielder Masaya Jitozono, while the Wasps will be without Yura Indera Putra as both players serve their suspensions.
Suspension: Yura Indera Putra (Brunei DPMM), Masaya Jitozono (Albirex Niigata (S))
Brunei DPMM – LWWWW
26/07/16 Brunei DPMM 1-0 Home United (League Cup)
21/07/16 Brunei DPMM 2-1 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)
17/07/16 Hougang United 0-2 Brunei DPMM (League Cup)
13/07/16 Brunei DPMM 4-0 Warriors FC (League Cup)
03/07/16 Ceres La Salle 3-2 Brunei DPMM (Singapore Cup)
Albirex Niigata (S) – DWWWW
26/07/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)
22/07/16 Geylang International 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
18/07/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)
14/07/16 Home United 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
01/07/16 Geylang International 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (Singapore Cup)