Singapore Premier League • April 15, 2014
White Swans Wary of Pejic’s Threat
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Warriors FC
(April 16, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Both Albirex Niigata (S) and Warriors Football Club have enjoyed a positive start to the 2014 campaign, signalling their intentions as serious title contenders this year.
With a similar style of play largely concentrated on the flanks and adopting a patient build-up play, it will be a match football aficionados in Singapore cannot miss.
Warriors will be missing experienced campaigner Shi Jiayi who was sent off in their previous match for a verbal spat with Tanjong Pagar’s Asraf Rashid.
Warriors’ good form have evolved around two dynamic duo, Thomas Beattie and Kevin McCann in central midfield, and Miroslav Pejic and Nicolas Velez in the final third
Pejic and Velez have displayed telepathic understanding and terrorise defence with their slick interchangeable passing. Beattie and McCann on the other hand have built a reliable resistance in the middle of the park, forcing opponents to find alternative routes to venture into the Warriors’ fortress.
But it will not be a smooth ride for Warriors as Itsuki Yamada and company will be eager to snatch the game for themselves. For the White Swans, they will be banking on Kazuki Sakamoto to continue his scoring form.
Albirex’s flankers Keisuka Ota and Kazuya Okazaki will play a vital role in the team’s attack and are expected to provide the crucial crosses into the penalty box for their attackers.
Despite enjoying a four-match unbeaten run, the White Swans’ coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama has called upon his charges to be more clinical and score more goals after their slender 2-1 win over Courts Young Lions a week ago.
Suspension: Shi Jiayi (Warriors)
Key Men To Watch:
Albirex Niigata (S): Kazuki Sakamoto
Sakamoto is currently in goal-scoring mood, notching up five goals so far this year. But his goal scoring exploits has not been enough for coach Tatsuyuki who is keen to see his side score more goals and finish off their opponents early on in a match.
The striker has a habit of dropping back to assist the defence and catching his opponents off-guard in slick counter-attacking moves.
Warriors FC: Miroslav Pejic
The limelight continues to be on Pejic who has chalked up the majority of Warriors’ goals in the league this season.
His latest goal, against the Jaguars, had his signature written all over it as he likes to lurk around the right flank and make diagonal runs to the edge of the box before firing towards goal.
The Croatian not only has an eye for goal but also packs a punch with his left foot from the set pieces as well.
Albirex Niigata (S) – WWDWL
10/4/14 Courts Young Lions 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
4/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tanjong Pagar United
26/3/14 Woodlands Wellington 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
21/3/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
12/3/14 Hougang United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
Warriors FC – WDWWL
10/4/14 Tanjong Pagar 1-1 Warriors FC
3/4/14 Warriors FC 1-0 Woodlands Wellington
28/3/14 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Warriors FC
20/3/14 Warriors FC 2-0 Hougang United
12/3/14 Warriors FC 3-0 Harimau Muda
28/2/14 Brunei DPMM 2-0 Warriors FC
Head to Head (S.League)
20/9/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-3 Warriors FC
10/5/13 Warriors FC 2-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
17/6/12 Warriors FC 3-4 Albirex Niigata (S)
10/2/12 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 Warriors FC
28/11/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Warriors FC
13/7/11 Warriors FC 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
28/4/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 6-3 Warriors FC