League Cup • July 25, 2014
Tosi-less Wasps Face Jaguars In Final
StarHub League Cup Final
Tanjong Pagar United vs Brunei DPMM
(July 25, Friday, 8.00pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Local pride will be at stake when Tanjong Pagar United takes on Brunei DPMM in the 2014 StarHub League Cup final at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
While this will be DPMM’s third successive final appearance, it will be Tanjong Pagar’s first since the inaugural StarHub League Cup edition kicked off in 2007 and they will be keen to keep the title on home soil.
Placed in Group A alongside Albirex Niigata (S) and National Football League side Police SA, Patrick Vallee’s side emerged unscathed as they won 4-0 and 7-1 respectively.
Considering their poor form in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League so far this season, they have defied all odds and even beat the likes of Warriors FC and Hougang United in the quarter-finals and semis.
In those games, the Jaguars displayed mental strength as they went through back-to-back games which went into extra-time with the victory over Hougang going all the way to penalties.
Regarding DPMM as the ‘better’ team, Vallee promised that they would do their best and will not give up without putting up a fight.
“We will handle [the fitness of our players] and we will try to give a good fight to DPMM,” he stated.
“But what is good at this time is that we are playing DPMM who are the better team as they are top of the table, in the semi-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup and now finals in League Cup. For us it’s good, we will do our best and plan and work for that [match against DPMM].”
The Frenchman will receive a boost in the form of skipper Ahmad Latiff’s return to the team after serving a one-match suspension but defender Hafiz Osman will miss out after accumulating his second yellow of the competition.
DPMM meanwhile will be determined to play party pooper and at the same time, make amends for their heavy loss to Balestier Khalsa at the same stage last year.
Like their opponents, the current S.League leaders also stayed unbeaten as they drew 2-2 with Balestier and that was followed up with a narrow 3-2 victory over Hougang in Group D.
The Wasps then beat Woodlands Wellington in the last eight before emerging trumps on penalties over Geylang International in their last match to put themselves on course for a treble this season.
Although they will go into this regarded as slight favourites, coach Steve Kean insists that nothing is for certain and has urged caution.
“On league standings, yes they [Tanjong Pagar] are easier but actually the teams that started off poorly are improving and starting to play better,” he pointed out.
However, they will miss influential player Rodrigo Tosi – who has scored three goals in this tournament – through suspension but Kean believes that they have enough in them to cope with the Brazilian’s absence.
“We will miss Tosi, you are always going to miss your best players, but Azwan Ali will step up and he will play behind in the position just behind the strikers and he is a good option,” said the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
“It is an advantage when we got Tosi but it is not a case of bad bones if we don’t because we have a good squad that has depth.”
Suspensions: Hafiz Osman (Tanjong Pagar United); Rodrigo Tosi (Brunei DPMM)
Tanjong Pagar United – WWWWL
21/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United (4P) 0-0 (2) Hougang United (StarHub League Cup SF)
18/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United (AET) 1-0 Warriors FC (StarHub League Cup QF)
13/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United 7-1 Police SA (StarHub League Cup Group A)
7/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United 4-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (StarHub League Cup Group A)
1/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United 1-4 Tampines Rovers (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)
Brunei DPMM – WWWDW
21/7/14 Geylang International (0) 0-0 (3P) Brunei DPMM (StarHub League Cup SFl)
17/7/14 Brunei DPMM 3-1 Woodlands Wellington (StarHub League Cup QF)
14/7/14 Hougang United 2-3 Brunei DPMM (StarHub League Cup Group D)
11/7/14 Brunei DPMM 2-2 Balestier Khalsa (StarHub League Cup Group D)
4/7/14 Brunei DPMM 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)