News Singapore Premier League • March 16, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 2: Preview
Farhan Zulkifli (L) and Kazuki Hashioka battle for the ball, 14 March 2021
SINGAPORE, 16 MARCH 2021 – Midweek AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) action is coming your way with four fixtures! Title challengers Tampines Rovers and Lion City Sailors are gunning for their first wins of the campaign, while frontrunners Albirex Niigata (S) and Geylang International hope to continue their winning ways while on the road. ALL LIVE on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!
READ: 2021 SPL Round 1 Roundup
Tigers pose tricky test for Stags
Balestier Khalsa vs Tampines Rovers | 17 Mar | 7.45pm | Toa Payoh | Singtel Ch 112
Team news: Balestier have a fully-fit squad to call upon, with experienced full-back Ahmad Syahir returning from suspension.
The same goes for Tampines, with Montenegrin forward Boris Kopitovic in line to return to the starting eleven after impressing as a second-half substitute in last Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Lion City Sailors.
- Tampines have only beaten Balestier by more than one goal in one out of five league encounters since 2019.
- Balestier have yet to beat Tampines in the last 14 league encounters, since a 4-3 victory back in November 2015.
- Tampines have scored in the last 35 SPL matches – a run that stretches back to March 2019.
- Balestier last kept a clean sheet against Tampines in a 3-0 win during the 2017 TNP League Cup group stages.
- The last time Tampines failed to win any of their opening two games was back in the 2012 season when they drew 2-2 against Brunei DPMM and lost 1-0 to Balestier.
- Balestier will play their first home league match at Toa Payoh since a 0-0 draw with Brunei DPMM back in September 2018.
Sailors wary of new-look Jaguars
Tanjong Pagar United vs Lion City Sailors | 17 Mar | 7.45pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 113
Team news: Tanjong Pagar will continue to miss the services of veteran winger Ridhuan Muhammad through injury.
As for the Sailors, this game may have come too early for Brazilian signings Jorge Fellipe and Diego Lopes as they look to get up to speed in their fitness levels.
- The two sides also met on Week 2 of last season, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw at Jurong East.
- The Sailors failed to win on two visits to the venue in 2020, losing 3-2 to Albirex in the other game.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Khairul Amri is looking to score his first SPL goal since May 2019, when he netted the equaliser for Tampines in a 3-3 draw with Hougang.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Anaqi Ismit is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Cheetahs looking to bounce back
Hougang United vs Geylang International | 17 Mar | 7.45pm | Hougang | Singtel Ch 111, Starhub Ch 204
Team news: Hougang will continue to miss forwards Sahil Suhaimi and Naufal Azman as they continue their rehabilitation. Young midfielder Nikesh Singh has been ruled out of the season after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in pre-season training. The good news is that new striker Khairul Nizam is now available after serving a one-match suspension.
Meanwhile, Geylang will miss foreigners Sylvano Comvalius and Barry Maguire due to paperwork issues and a hamstring injury respectively. However, the latter’s absence will be soothed by the return of Firdaus Kasman from suspension, with the creative midfielder set to pair up with Izzdin Shafiq in midfield. Nur Luqman Rahman is ruled out due to injury as well.
- Hougang have yet to beat Geylang in the last five encounters in all competitions and have conceded at least twice on each occasion.
- Hougang last kept a clean sheet against Geylang in a 3-0 win back in August 2018 – current Eagle Fareez Farhan was amongst the scorers, while Hougang’s Anders Aplin was on the opposite side then.
- Hougang won two and lost five of seven home games at Hougang Stadium in 2020.
- Hougang’s Shahril Ishak had scored seven goals in five games against Geylang since 2018 before drawing a blank in the Sailors’ 3-0 victory at OTH last November.
- Hougang have never lost both their first two games since their inception in 2011.
- Geylang have a chance to win their first two games for the first time since 2007.
Buoyant Young Lions hope to spring surprise
Young Lions vs Albirex Niigata (S) | 17 Mar | 7.45pm | Jalan Besar
Team news: Young Lions have a clean bill of health, with centre-back Syabil Hisham set to make his debut after completing a one-match suspension while Hami Syahin could start after coming off the bench to great effect the last time out.
Similarly, Albirex do not have any issues, with Fikri Junaidi in line to make his White Swans debut against his former club.
- Albirex have won the last 14 encounters since a 1-0 defeat back in November 2015.
- Young Lions failed to score in both losses against Albirex last season.
- Young Lions have the opportunity to avoid defeat in both of their first two games for the first time since 2018 when they went top temporarily with wins over Hougang United and Warriors FC.