News Singapore Premier League â€˘ September 15, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 19: Preview
Jorge Fellipe of the Lion City Sailors duels aerially with Albirex Niigata’s Ryoya Taniguchi, 7 April 2021.
SINGAPORE, 15 SEPTEMBER 2021 â€“ Friday night promises to be a pivotal night in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title race as the top two, Albirex Niigata (S) and Lion City Sailors, face off in a massive clash. A win for the White Swans will see them pull eight points clear and take a huge step towards retaining the title, while three points for the Sailors will swing the pendulum the other way to allow Kim Do-hoonâ€™s men to take the upper hand in the title race. A day later, Hougang United visit Tanjong Pagar United knowing that victory will be enough to seal third spot above Tampines Rovers, who host Young Lions in a concurrent fixture. ALL LIVE on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!
READ: 2021 SPL Round 18 Roundup
*Note: The preview for Tampines vs Sailors on 21 September will be added the day before.
Top two battle for upper hand in title race
Lion City Sailors vs Albirex Niigata (S) | 17 September | 7.45pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 112, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Stipe Plazibat appeared to hurt his ankle in the Sailorsâ€™ last match and they will hope to have the talismanic Croatian striker back for this.
As for Albirex, young attacker Nicky Melvin Singh is out of the season while veteran forward Fairoz Hasan is still working his way back to full fitness. However, top scorer Kiyoshiro Tsuboi is now ready to return to the starting eleven after recovering from a serious knee injury.
Club news: Sailors – Calling for a blend of calm assurance and a fiery desire to win
- The Sailors have yet to beat Albirex in four encounters since their inception in 2020, although they came back on both occasions this season to attain draws.
- The Sailors have scored in their last 29 SPL matches, while Albirex have scored in their last 15 â€“ they only failed to net a goal in one out of 18 matches this season.
- Should Albirex not concede, they will keep four straight sheets for the first time since June 2018.
- Sailorsâ€™ Hariss Harun is unbeaten in his last six league appearances against Albirex â€“ one with Sailors in 2021, three with Home United in 2017 and two with Young Lions in 2010. He last lost to the White Swans in a 3-2 loss back in October 2009.
- Victory for the Sailors, coupled with anything less than victory for Hougang, will see the Sailors clinch a top-two finish.
Young Lions look to pile further misery on Stags
Tampines Rovers vs Young Lions | 18 September | 5.30pm | Our Tampines Hub | StarHub Ch 202
Team news: For Tampines, young defender Irfan Najeeb is ruled out for the rest of the campaign due to a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear while first-choice custodian Syazwan Buhari remains doubtful after missing the last three matches courtesy of a toe injury. The good news is that experienced full-back Irwan Shah will return from suspension for this.
Meanwhile the Young Lions, with Hami Syahin already out for the season due to ankle surgery, will also miss teenage full-back Raoul Suhaimi as well as head coach Philippe Aw due to their expulsions against Sailors. However, Ryhan Stewart is back for selection after clearing his one-match ban.
- Tampines have won both encounters this season, putting a total of 11 goals past Young Lions without reply.
- Tampines are undefeated in the last seven encounters, since Young Lions came from behind to win 2-1 in August 2018.
- Anything less than three points will see Tampines go seven league matches without a win for the first time since June 2001 when they went eight games without victory.
- The last time Tampines lost a home game against Young Lions was in October 2015 â€“ 1-0 at Jurong West. Current Stag Syazwan Buhari was playing for the visitors back then.
- Tampines have scored in each of their last 51 SPL matches, while Young Lions have conceded in their last 33.
- Tampinesâ€™ Kyoga Nakamura have scored in his last two appearances against Young Lions â€“ in fact all three of his goals this season came against them.
- Young Lionsâ€™ Shah Shahiran could face his former club for the first time; he represented the Stags in the 7-0 thrashing of his current side back in April.
Cheetahs gunning for revenge against Jaguars
Tanjong Pagar United vs Hougang United | 18 September | 5.30pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 112, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Tanjong Pagar will have to rejig their midfield with Blake Ricciuto and Rusyaidi Salime both unavailable due to suspension. Experienced defender Delwinder Singh remains on the sidelines with a toe injury.
As for Hougang, the big miss will be the injured Lionel Tan although Anders Aplin should return and deputise for him at the heart of defence. Idraki Adnan and Maksat Dzhakybaliev are already out for the season.
- Victory for Hougang will seal a top-three finish. A draw will also suffice if Tampines do not beat the Young Lions.
- Hougang have yet to defeat Tanjong Pagar in two encounters this season â€“ the last time these two sides met in July, the Jaguars won 4-1 for their first victory over the Cheetahs in seven league encounters.
- Hougangâ€™s Tomoyuki Doi has scored in all four career appearances against Tanjong Pagar, tallying six goals in total.
- Tanjong Pagarâ€™s Reo Nishiguchi and Luiz Junior scored in both encounters this season.
- Tanjong Pagarâ€™s Khairul Amri came off the bench to score in two out of his last three appearances against Hougang.
- Hougangâ€™s Izwan Mahbud have yet to win in his four career appearances against Tanjong Pagar till date â€“ one with Hougang in 2021 and three in 2011 with Young Lions.
- Tanjong Pagarâ€™s Shakir Hamzah has not lost in his last five career starts against Hougang â€“ three with Home in 2018, one with Tampines in 2016 and one with Young Lions in 2015. He last started in a loss against the Cheetahs in Young Lionsâ€™ 1-0 loss back in March 2011.
Sailors looking for quick response
Tampines Rovers vs Lion City Sailors | 21 September | 7.45pm | Our Tampines Hub | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Tampines could have a defensive headache for this one, with Baihakki Khaizan suspended while Ryaan Sanizal is unlikely to recover in time after coming off early through injury the last time out. Irfan Najeeb is already ruled out for the season due to a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear. They will also need to rejig in the attacking areas with captain Yasir Hanapi also serving a one-match suspension for an accumulation of four yellow cards.
The Sailors also have issues of their own, with Brazilian defensive lynchpin Jorge Felllipe and Croatian hot shot Stipe Plazibat unlikely to play a part again in 2021 due to injuries. A win will see the Sailors seal a top-two finish and a passage into the 2022 AFC Champions League as this seasonâ€™s best-placed local team, while Tampines need just a point to seal fourth spot.
- Both sides last met in August, with the Sailors triumphing 4-1 for their first win against Tampines in four encounters since their 2020 inception.
- Tampines are yet to beat any of their fellow top four sides this season, tallying two draws and five defeats.
- The Sailors are on a club-record 15-match unbeaten run, while Tampines won for the first time in seven SPL matches the last time out.
- Tampines have conceded in their last nine league matches, while the Sailors have conceded in all seven games under Kim Do-hoon.
- Tampines have scored in each of their last 52 SPL matches, while the Sailors have netted in each of their last 30.
- Sailors’ Gabriel Quak have scored three in two appearances against Tampines in 2021