Singapore Premier League • July 20, 2022

2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 17: Preview


Song Uiyoung of Lion City Sailors is chased down by Christopher van Huizen of Tampines Rovers, 13 March 2022


SINGAPORE, 20 JULY 2022 – The latest Matchweek of the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) kicks off with two of the league’s most in-form sides, Hougang United and Geylang International, facing off on Friday night. Young Lions will have a tough ask to snap a five-match losing streak at home against Albirex Niigata (S), while struggling Balestier Khalsa host third-placed Tanjong Pagar United on Saturday evening. The weekend rounds off with a blockbuster clash on Sunday evening between local powerhouses Lion City Sailors, who have not won in two league matches, and a Tampines Rovers side hunting down an Asian Football Confederation Cup (AFC) qualification spot. ALL LIVE on our YouTube channel and meWATCH!


READ: Matchweek 16 Roundup


Cheetahs face relentless Eagles
Hougang United vs Geylang International | 22 July | 7.45pm | Hougang |Singtel Ch 111


Team Form (last five league games):
Hougang United – LWDWD
Geylang International – DWWWD


Team news: Hougang have no injury concerns. Midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin is back in training and fit for selection despite coming off with a heavy knock against Tanjong Pagar last weekend. Andre Moritz is still ruled out with a fractured knee for the Cheetahs.


Fadli Kamis remains a long-term injury absentee for Geylang (anterior cruciate ligament), and forward Fareez Farhan is still not match-fit enough to make the matchday squad.



  • Hougang have only lost once (5-0 to Albirex) in their last eight league matches.
  • After plundering a meagre three league goals in his first 10 league appearances, Pedro Bortoluzo now has four goals in his last two Hougang matches – the 24-year-old Brazilian also netted in all three of their AFC Cup group-stage matches in June.
  • Hougang have triumphed in four of their last five league meetings, winning by an aggregate of 14-6. The most recent encounter finished 0-0.
  • Winger Amy Recha will play against his former club Geylang – the 30-year-old seems to love this particular match-up, having scored once in each of those five matches between both sides (once for Hougang and four times for Geylang).
  • Geylang are unbeaten (three wins, two draws) in their last five league games; the last time they went at least six consecutive league games unbeaten was a mammoth stretch of 11 games across two seasons between October 2015 to April 2016.
  • Despite conceding 28 goals in 16 games, Eagles stopper Zaiful Nizam has six clean sheets to his name – only one behind league-leading Hassan Sunny (seven). 


Traditionally a one-sided affair
Young Lions vs Albirex Niigata (S) | 23 July | 5.30pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 111


Team Form (last five league games):
Young Lions – LLLLL
Albirex Niigata (S) – WWWLW


Team news: Young Lions will be boosted by the return of defender Syahrul Sazali and creative midfielder Joel Chew, but Umayr Sujuandy and Fairuz Fazli remain unavailable.


For Albirex, striker Tadanari Lee continues to recover from a collarbone injury that will sideline him for another month or so. Defender Shogo Toyomura is also nearing full fitness after his long-term hamstring injury.



  • Albirex have won all of their last 18 league meetings against Young Lions, keeping clean sheets in 11 of those wins.
  • Kazuaki Yoshinaga has altered Albirex’s traditional 4-4-2 formation to a 4-2-3-1 system with Ilhan Fandi as the lone striker, Kodai Tanaka on the left and former defender Keito Hariya playing in midfield since their come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Sailors in June 2022.
  • Masaya Idetsu has nine league assists for Albirex, only second to Sailors’ Maxime Lestienne (11).
  • Ilhan Fandi now has seven goals in his last six appearances for Albirex after netting his first career hat-trick against Balestier last weekend.
  • Young Lions last defeated Albirex seven years ago in November 2015 – a 1-0 win at the Jurong East Stadium courtesy of a Jordan Webb goal.
  • Win-less in their last eight league matches, Young Lions will be aiming to snap a run of five straight league defeats.
  • Striker Abdul Rasaq netted his first league goal since 2019 for Young Lions against Tampines last weekend – after eight appearances this season.
  • Young Lions have failed to score in six of their 14 league matches this season.


Jaguars focused on top-half finish
Balestier Khalsa vs Tanjong Pagar United | 23 July | 5.30pm | Toa Payoh | Singtel Ch 113


Team Form (last five league games):
Balestier Khalsa – LWLDL
Tanjong Pagar United – WLLWD


Team news: Ensar Brunčević returns from suspension to add timely steel to Balestier’s back-line as they aim to end a string of poor results, while Kuraba Kondo is also fit for the Tigers after being left out of last weekend’s matchday squad with injury.


Tanjong Pagar will have Fathullah Rahmat back from suspension, but Ryan Syaffiq is still out with a knee injury. Defender Shakir Hamzah is fit again after a lengthy injury lay-off, but captain Faritz Hameed and Mirko Šugić are both carrying ankle injuries and classified as doubtful; the latter will sit out this fixture anyway, as he serves a one-match ban for accumulating his fourth yellow card against Hougang last weekend.



  • Currently sitting on 26 points after 16 games played, Tanjong Pagar can match or better their points haul from their last two league seasons combined (27), by avoiding defeat in this fixture.
  • Tanjong Pagar have triumphed in both meetings this season – winning away 5-3 in March and at home 1-0 in May.
  • The Jaguars are currently third in the league, four points clear of Tampines but having played a game more – Hasrin Jailani’s men are chasing a maiden AFC Cup appearance.
  • Reo Nishiguchi has contributed to 63.3 per cent of Tanjong Pagar’s goals this season with 14 goals and five assists.
  • Balestier have conceded a league-high 43 goals after 16 games, just nine goals away from equalling their tally of 52 from last season.
  • Shuhei Hoshino is currently Balestier’s top-scorer with nine league goals from 16 matches, already tripling his goal haul (three) from last season.


Sailors aiming to get back on track
Lion City Sailors vs Tampines Rovers | 24 July | 5.30pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 201


Team Form (last five league games):
Lion City Sailors – LWWDD
Tampines Rovers – WLDLW


Team news: The Sailors are full-strength with the entire squad in a clean bill of health for this crunch clash.


Midfielder Firdaus Kasman returns from suspension for Tampines, and coach Gavin Lee will also have a fully fit squad to select from.



  • In their last four league meetings, the Sailors have beaten Tampines on every occasion – keeping clean sheets in their last two encounters.
  • Kim Do-Hoon’s men have only conceded a league-low of 13 goals after 16 games; goalkeeper Hassan Sunny has a league-leading six clean sheets.
  • The Sailors are five points ahead of second-placed Albirex, who have a game in hand.
  • Zulqarnaen Suzliman made his first league start of the season at right-back for the Sailors last weekend against Geylang – allowing Hafiz Nor to be pushed forward into a winger role.
  • Tampines last defeated the Sailors in March 2020 and also won all three head-to-head league meetings during the 2019 season.
  • The Stags are chasing AFC Cup qualification for a second consecutive year – they are four points behind third-placed Tanjong Pagar with a game in hand.
  • Boris Kopitović is aiming to continue a streak of scoring in five consecutive league matches – he has six goals in his last five league games.


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