Singapore Premier League • March 2, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 2: Preview
Tanjong Pagar United’s Shodai Nishikawa fends off Albirex Niigata (S) defender Daichi Omori, 25 February 2022
SINGAPORE, 2 MARCH 2022 – The 2022 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) action continues as early leaders Lion City Sailors target a second successive win against new-look Geylang International, while Albirex Niigata (S) are out to put their opening-day loss behind them when they face Balestier Khalsa. Elsewhere, Tanjong Pagar United will fancy their chances of another upset when Hougang United come calling. ALL LIVE on our YouTube channel and meWATCH!
READ: Matchweek 1 Roundup
Eagles hope to surprise champions
Geylang International vs Lion City Sailors | 4 Mar | 7.45pm | Our Tampines Hub | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Geylang have a largely-fit squad – with a number of players returning from Covid-19 – as they look to begin their 2022 season with a bang. The only absentee is Abdil Qaiyyim, with the experienced centre-back serving a one-match suspension carried over from last season.
For the Sailors, Nur Adam Abdullah is still on the treatment table while Gabriel Quak is not match fit yet. However, they can call upon the services of Adam Swandi and Faris Ramli again as they return from suspension and Covid-19 respectively. Playmaker Hami Syahin is also ready despite sustaining a hand injury in last Sunday’s 3-1 win over Hougang.
- The Sailors have won all five encounters against Geylang since their 2020 inception – scoring a total of 20 goals.
- Last season, Sailors won 8-0 at OTH to dish out the Eagles’ heaviest-ever defeat in SPL history.
- Geylang have a 100 per cent record in season-opening matches at OTH – beating Albirex 1-0 in 2019 and Tanjong Pagar 2-1 in 2021.
- The Sailors are on a club record 19-match unbeaten run and have scored in each of their last 34 games since March 2020.
- The Sailors have not conceded more than a goal per game in 12 games (including the AIA Community Shield) under Kim Do-hoon.
Wounded White Swans look to bounce back
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Balestier Khalsa | 5 Mar | 5.30pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Albirex have a full-strength squad with Nicky Melvin Singh finally returning from Cambodia after recovering from Covid-19, although the young forward may not be fully match fit.
As for Balestier, defenders Amer Hakeem and Ho Wai Loon are doubtful after missing the opening 2-2 draw with Tampines due to injury.
- Balestier have not defeated Albirex in the last 20 encounters in all competitions, since a 1-0 win at Toa Payoh in October 2015 – their last victory at Jurong East also came in July that year in a similar scoreline.
- The last time both sides met in August 2021, Albirex won 4-0 courtesy of Ryoya Taniguchi and Kuraba Kondo braces – both players are now with the Tigers.
- Balestier are one of only two teams (along with Tampines Rovers) to have stopped Albirex from scoring in 2021.
- Albirex have failed to win their last four SPL matches – their worst run of form since going seven matches without a victory in September 2019.
- A Balestier win will see Albirex lose their first two league matches for the first time since 2015.
- Balestier’s Akbar Nawas has won both league matches against Albirex in his coaching career – with 1-0 and 5-1 wins over the White Swans when he was with Tampines in the 2016 season.
Jubilant Jaguars eye another scalp
Tanjong Pagar United vs Hougang United | 6 Mar | 5.30pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Tanjong Pagar have more numbers to count on this time with Khairul Amri back available for selection after recovering from Covid-19, centre-back Shahrin Saberin returning from a one-match suspension and wide man Ryan Syaffiq now registered in the squad. Emmeric Ong should be ready to play after recovering from Covid-19 but Rusyaidi Salime is doubtful due to injury, while Shakir Hamzah and Daniel Bennett remain unavailable. Khairul Nizam is yet to return to training.
For Hougang, centre-back Lionel Tan could return to the starting eleven after injury. However, Idraki Adnan, Hafiz Sujad and Farhan Zulkifli – who recently returned to Singapore after recovering from Covid-19 – are still not match fit, while the versatile Afiq Noor now faces two months out after sustaining an injury against the Sailors.
- Hougang failed to beat Tanjong Pagar in all three encounters in 2021, with one loss and two draws.
- Tanjong Pagar are undefeated against Hougang at home since returning to the SPL in 2020, with a record of three draws at Jurong East.
- Tanjong Pagar could win their opening two matches for the first time since 2013, while Hougang may lose their opening two games for the first time since their inception in 2011.
- Amri has scored in three out of his last four appearances against Hougang – coming off the bench to do on each occasion.
- A goal for Tanjong Pagar’s Reo Nishiguchi will see him scoring in four straight matches since a five-match streak for Albirex in the opening five matches of the 2020 season.