News Singapore Premier League • July 28, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 13: Preview
Albirex Niigata (S) triumphed the last time they played Hougang United on 13 March 2021.
SINGAPORE, 28 JULY 2021 – This week’s AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) action gets underway with a big clash on Friday between leaders Albirex Niigata (S) and Hougang United. The next evening, Balestier Khalsa and Young Lions face off with both sides very much needing a positive result while Tanjong Pagar United and Geylang International will duel after morale-boosting wins last week. ALL LIVE on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!
Injury-hit Cheetahs face arduous task
Hougang United vs Albirex Niigata (S) | 30 July | 7.45pm | Hougang | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Hougang’s hopes of a shock win are diminished by their growing injury list, with key locals Idraki Adnan and Lionel Tan as well as foreign pair Maksat Dzhakybaliev and Kaishu Yamazaki all unlikely to feature. The good news is that veteran Shahril Ishak should return for selection after the birth of his third child.
Albirex also have issues of their own, with the strike duo of Fairoz Hasan and Kiyoshiro Tsuboi both on the treatment table. There is a chance that fellow forward Fumiya Suzuki could return after recovering from a concussion sustained in a friendly match.
- Albirex have won the last three encounters since being defeated 2-1 at home in the 2019 Singapore Cup group stages – that includes a 1-0 win at Hougang that saw them lift the 2020 SPL trophy at the venue.
- Albirex have failed to score only once in 12 matches this season, while Hougang kept only one clean sheet in 2021.
- Hougang have not kept a clean sheet in the last 13 encounters in all competitions since a 0-0 draw at Hougang Stadium in the 2017 League Cup group stages.
- Hougang’s Izwan Mahbud conceded four in his last SPL appearance against Albirex in August 2017 – he was playing for Tampines back then.
Out-of-form sides look to turn fortunes
Balestier Khalsa vs Young Lions | 31 July | 5.30pm | Toa Payoh | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Defensive midfielder Aarish Kumar is out for the season due to a knee injury, but Balestier should welcome back captain and first-choice custodian Zaiful Nizam and teenage defender Aqil Yazid into the fold after they were rested the last time out.
As for the Young Lions, they will continue to miss key defenders Syahrul Sazali and Danish Irfan through suspension and injury respectively. The trio of Syed Akmal, Scott Crichton and Sahffee Jubpre will also be unavailable after their recent enlistment into National Service.
- Young Lions are the only team without a victory this season, while Balestier have yet to win in their last seven games – their worst streak since a 10-match streak in 2019.
- Young Lions have conceded in each of their last 27 SPL matches.
- Young Lions have lost their last 10 encounters at Toa Payoh Stadium since a 0-0 draw in February 2011.
- Should he score, Šime Žužul will become the first Balestier player to score in six straight league games since Croatian compatriot Miroslav Krištić did in 2015.
Jaguars and Eagles both look to climb further
Tanjong Pagar United vs Geylang International | 1 August | 5.30pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: In addition to the injured duo of Ridhuan Muhammad and Naufal Ilham, Tanjong Pagar will also miss the services of key midfielder Rusyaidi Salime due to suspension. However, mid-season signing Shakir Hamzah is now fit to make his club debut while young full-back Prakash Raj has also returned to full training.
Meanwhile for Geylang, tenacious left-back Harith Kanadi is out due to a one-match ban while the likes of Abdil Qaiyyim, Darren Teh, Iqram Rifqi, Firdaus Kasman and Elijah Lim are sidelined by injury.
Club news: Geylang – Buoyant Eagles to face resurgent Tanjong Pagar
- Tanjong Pagar have lost all three encounters since returning to the SPL in 2020.
- Geylang are undefeated in the last nine encounters since being defeated 1-0 at Queenstown in March 2012. Current Jaguars fitness coach Hafiz Osman scored the winner, while Delwinder Singh and Geylang’s Amy Recha are the only ones still with their respective clubs.
- Tanjong Pagar could go four games undefeated for the first time since October 2014 as long as they avoid defeat in this one – they in fact lost just once out of their last five matches.
- Tanjong Pagar kept only one clean sheet in 12 games this season, while Geylang have yet to keep one since November 2020.