News Singapore Premier League • August 10, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 15: Preview
Shawal Anuar of Hougang United and Ong Yu En of Albirex Niigata (S) during their SPL encounter, 30 July 2021.
SINGAPORE, 11 AUGUST 2021 – A blockbuster weekend in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) awaits us with big clashes between teams in the top four – leaders Albirex Niigata (S) host third-placed Hougang United on Friday, before nearest challenger Lion City Sailors entertain Tampines Rovers on Sunday. In between, Young Lions and Tanjong Pagar United will be looking to avenge recent defeats against Balestier Khalsa and Geylang International respectively. ALL LIVE on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!
Cheetahs look to pounce
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Hougang United | 13 August | 7.45pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Albirex will continue to miss top scorer Kiyoshiro Tsuboi as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury, but fellow forward Fairoz Hasan is edging close to a return and there is a slight chance he may feature against his former club.
For Hougang, young winger Idraki Adnan is out for the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury but they will welcome back key foreigners Maksat Dzhakybaliev and Gilberto Fortunato from suspension and injury respectively.
- Hougang have lost the last four encounters since a 2-1 win at Jurong East (JE) in the 2019 RHB Singapore Cup group stage.
- Albirex have failed to win their previous two home matches – the last time they went three games at JE without a win was back in 2015 in a four-match streak from May to August.
- A loss for Albirex would see them lose two straight home games for the first time since November 2015 when they went down 1-0 to both Young Lions and Tampines.
- The last time Albirex lost back-to-back league games was in September 2019 when they lost 2-1 to Warriors FC and 2-0 to Brunei DPMM – both away.
- Hougang have not kept a clean sheet in the last 14 encounters in all competitions since a 0-0 draw at Hougang Stadium in the 2017 League Cup group stages.
- Albirex’s Takahiro Tezuka has scored in his last two outings against Hougang – half of his 4-goal haul came against the Cheetahs.
- Albirex’s Takahiro Koga has conceded in his last seven outings.
Young Lions gunning for double over Tigers
Young Lions vs Balestier Khalsa | 14 August | 5.30pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Young Lions will be able to call upon versatile full-back Zulqarnaen Suzliman and the reliable Jacob Mahler again as the duo return from suspension and injury respectively. However, they will miss defender Nazhiim Harman due to a head injury sustained the last time out and key midfielder Hami Syahin for a one-match ban. The latter is also ruled out for the rest of the campaign after a recent surgery on his problematic right ankle.
As for Balestier, they will need to rejig their backline with left-back Ahmad Syahir out with an ankle injury while towering Serbian centre-half Ensar Brunčević is serving the first of a three-match suspension for the accumulation of a fourth yellow on top of a direct red in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw against the Sailors.
- Young Lions’ only victory this season came two weeks ago in a 3-2 victory away against Balestier.
- Anything less than three points will see Balestier equal their previous worst run of form in a 10-match win-less streak from May to August 2019.
- Young Lions have conceded in their last 29 SPL matches, while Balestier kept just two clean sheets in 14 this season.
- Young Lions’ last home win at Jalan Besar came against Balestier in a 1-0 win back in July 2019 – they have failed to win in 10 matches at the venue (including seven this season) since then.
- A goal in this will see Balestier’s Šime Žužul net in eight straight league games and exceed his previous best tally of nine in 2019.
- Balestier’s Shuhei Hoshino has failed to net in his last 13 appearances since netting a brace in the opening week’s 3-3 draw against Young Lions.
In-form Jaguars out for revenge
Geylang International vs Tanjong Pagar United | 14 August | 5.30pm | Our Tampines Hub | Singtel Ch 112, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Wide man Iqram Rifqi and reliable right-back Darren Teh remain sidelined for Geylang, but mid-season signing Abdil Qaiyyim is now nearing full fitness while tenacious left-back Harith Kanadi is available again after a one-match ban.
As for Tanjong Pagar, they will continue to miss the injured duo of Ridhuan Muhammad and Naufal Ilham.
Club news: Geylang – Eagles aim to continue unbeaten run
- Tanjong Pagar have lost all four encounters since returning to the SPL in 2020.
- Two of Geylang’s four victories this season came against the Jaguars.
- Geylang are undefeated in the last 10 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.
- A victory will see Geylang win three straight games for the first time since August 2019.
- Tanjong Pagar kept only one clean sheet in 14 games this season, while Geylang have conceded in their last 17 since a 2-0 win over Hougang United last November.
- A goal in this will see Tanjong Pagar’s Luiz Junior extend his scoring run to five games.
Stags target positive return against stuttering Sailors
Lion City Sailors vs Tampines Rovers | 15 August | 5.30pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: While Song Ui-young is now back from a two-match suspension to bolster their engine room, the Sailors have other issues to contend with. First-choice custodian Hassan Sunny is set to miss out after sustaining a concussion against Balestier, while defensive lynchpin Jorge Fellipe will serve a one-match suspension for an accumulation of a fourth yellow. Young winger Justin Hui is also out for the season after enlisting for National Service (NS), while Adam Swandi remains on the treatment table.
In contrast, Tampines have a largely fit squad to call upon for their first SPL match in almost three months. Mid-season arrival Huzaifah Aziz is set to make his first league appearance in 2021, while impact forward Taufik Suparno has recovered from the meniscus injury that led to him missing the Stags’ maiden AFC Champions League (ACL) campaign, although he may not be fully match fit yet.
- The Sailors are yet to defeat Tampines in three encounters since their inception in 2020 – with the Stags coming from behind on the last two occasions to attain draws.
- The Sailors have scored in their last 25 SPL matches.
- The last time they failed to score was in March 2020 in a 4-0 defeat to Tampines at OTH – in fact that was the first and only time in 27 games that they did not find the net since 2020.
- The Sailors are unbeaten in their last 10, while Tampines have lost their last seven in all competitions – including the six losses in the ACL group stage.
- The Sailors have never gone three games without a win in their history.
- Sailors’ second-choice goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah kept a clean sheet on his last outing against Tampines – that came in Home United’s 0-0 draw at the same venue in July 2018.