Singapore Premier League • March 16, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 4: Preview
Tampines Rovers star Zehrudin Mehmedović reacts during a match, 13 March 2022.
SINGAPORE, 16 MARCH 2022 – Sit tight, for there is one last blockbuster AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) Matchweek coming your way before the international break. Last season’s top four face off against each other as champions Lion City Sailors visit Albirex Niigata (S) and Tampines Rovers host Hougang United. Surprise leaders Tanjong Pagar United will look to continue their unbeaten start against Geylang International while Balestier Khalsa target their first win of the season against Young Lions. ALL LIVE on our YouTube channel and meWATCH!
READ: Matchweek 3 Roundup
White Swans aim to avenge Community Shield defeat
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Lion City Sailors | 18 Mar | 7.45pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: In-form Albirex continue to miss centre-back Reo Kunimoto due to a pre-season injury, while versatile midfielder Masaya Idetsu has also joined him on the sidelines for at least four weeks due to a muscle tear.
For the Sailors, Brazilian centre-back Pedro Henrique serves the last of his two-match suspension while 2021 Young Player of the Year Nur Adam Abdullah is still not match fit. However, the likes of Tajeli Salamat, M. Anumanthan and Faris Ramli are set to return after missing last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Tampines.
- The Sailors are yet to beat Albirex in five league meetings, suffering identical 3-2 defeats in 2020 before three consecutive draws in 2021.
- Albirex have scored 11 goals in their past two matches without reply – they are the league’s current top scorers.
- Sailors’ Hariss Harun is unbeaten in his last seven league appearances against Albirex – one with Sailors in 2021, three with Home United in 2017 and two with Young Lions in 2010. His last defeat against the White Swans came in the Young Lions’ 3-2 loss in October 2009.
Win-less Stags eye turn of fortunes
Tampines Rovers vs Hougang United | 18 Mar | 7.45pm | Our Tampines Hub | Singtel Ch 113
Team news: Tampines have a largely fit squad to call upon with no major injury concerns. Captain Yasir Hanapi came off due to injury in the previous match but is expected to be fit enough to play a part here.
Kristijan Krajček, Pedro Bortoluzo, Muhaimin Suhaimi and Afiq Noor are all out through injury for Hougang, while Hafiz Sujad is a possible doubt after taking a knock in last Friday’s 3-2 win over Geylang. The good news is that Farhan Zulkifli could finally play a part after clearing the mandatory Yo-yo test earlier in the week.
- Hougang won all three encounters in 2021, scoring a total of 15 goals.
- Hougang are undefeated in their last three visits to OTH – a 3-3 draw in 2019, followed by 2-1 and 3-2 victories in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Their last defeat against the Stags at the venue came in August 2018.
- Hougang have not kept a clean sheet in the last 29 encounters in all competitions since a 2-0 league win at Hougang Stadium on May 19, 2011.
- Tampines have lost thrice in 21 home league games at OTH since August 2019 – two of those came against Hougang.
- Anything less than three points will see Tampines go their first three matches of the season without a win for the first time since 2009.
- Tampines have won their opening home game for the past four seasons – 2018 to 2021.
- Hougang have conceded at least two goals in each of their last five matches – they have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 outings since a 1-0 win over Young Lions in August 2021.
- Tampines’ Boris Kopitović has scored five in his last four outings against the Cheetahs, while Hougang’s Amy Recha scored in his last two appearances against the Stags.
Jaguars keen to remain in the ascendancy
Tanjong Pagar United vs Geylang International | 19 Mar | 5.30pm | Jurong East | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Tanjong Pagar will continue to miss Rusyaidi Salime through injury, while Daniel Bennett and Shakir Hamzah remain unavailable.
There are no notable absentees for Geylang bar Azri Suhaili, who is still recovering from sickness and Joshua Pereira, who will join the team after finishing National Service in May.
- The last time both sides met in August 2021, Tanjong Pagar won 4-2 away for their first win in five encounters since returning to the SPL in 2020.
- Tanjong Pagar are undefeated in their last six league games since a 1-0 defeat to Balestier in September 2021 – their best run of form since a six-game unbeaten run in August 2013.
- Avoiding defeat here will see Tanjong Pagar go unbeaten after their first four matches of the season since 2000, when they went their first 11 matches without defeat.
Tigers hungry for first win
Balestier Khalsa vs Young Lions | 19 Mar | 5.30pm | Toa Payoh | Singtel Ch 113, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Balestier may have to rejig their defence with Delwinder Singh doubtful after contracting Covid-19, while Amer Hakeem remains out through injury. On a more positive note, midfielder Ignatius Ang is now available again after recovering from Covid-19.
As for Young Lions, there are no other concerns except for long-term injury victims Jordan Emaviwe and Danish Irfan.
- The Young Lions are undefeated in the last four encounters since a 2-0 home defeat in March 2020.
- Two out of the Young Lions’ four wins in 2021 came against Balestier.
- Young Lions’ 3-2 victory at Toa Payoh in July 2021 was their first win in 11 encounters at the venue.
- Young Lions have conceded at least a goal in each of their last 37 SPL matches since a 3-0 win over Home United in September 2019.
- Anything less than three points for Balestier will see them go their first four matches without a win for the first time since 2016, when they went their first nine without one.