Singapore Premier League • March 31, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 5: Preview
Young Lions striker Ilhan Fandi reacts during a match, 19 March 2022.
SINGAPORE, 31 MARCH 2022 – The AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) returns this week, with Lion City Sailors and Albirex Niigata (S) taking on Balestier Khalsa and Hougang United respectively on Friday. The following day sees surprise table-toppers Tanjong Pagar United looking to preserve their unbeaten streak against the Young Lions while Geylang International and Tampines Rovers face off in the first Eastern Derby of the season. ALL LIVE on our YouTube channel and meWATCH!
READ: Matchweek 4 Roundup
Wounded Cheetahs out to bounce back
Hougang United vs Albirex Niigata (S) | 1 Apr | 7.45pm | Hougang | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Hougang’s injury issues persist with the quartet of Pedro Bortoluzo, Hafiz Sujad, Muhaimin Suhaimi and Afiq Noor all ruled out, while Idraki Adnan is still not match-fit. The good news is that Croatian midfielder Kristijan Krajček is ready to return to action after missing the last three matches due to injury.
For Albirex, Shogo Toyomura and Masaya Idetsu are out for the next few weeks but key defender Reo Kunimoto is back for selection for the first time this season after featuring in a closed-door training match with the Malaysian national team on Monday. The influential duo of Tadanari Lee and Masahiro Sugita is also available again after missing the 1-1 draw with Sailors two weeks ago due to COVID-19.
- Hougang have lost the last five competitive encounters since a 2-1 win at Jurong East in the 2019 RHB Singapore Cup group stage.
- Hougang are win-less in the last five encounters in all competitions at Hougang Stadium since a 2-1 league win in July 2017 – current White Swan Fairoz Hasan scored the match-winning goal then.
- Albirex have not lost as the designated away side for the past 14 outings since a 2-0 defeat to Tampines in October 2020.
- Hougang have not kept a clean sheet for their last 11 matches since a 1-0 win over Young Lions in August 2021.
- Hougang won just one out of their last seven matches since September 2021.
Sailors keen to get going
Lion City Sailors vs Balestier Khalsa | 1 Apr | 7.45pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 112, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Brazilian centre-back Pedro Henrique is back from a two-match suspension, while the likes of Song Uiyoung and Saifullah Akbar are ready to return to action for the Sailors. However, Faris Ramli remains a doubt due to a troublesome plantar fasciitis injury and Iqram Rifqi could also be sidelined.
As for Balestier, Ammirul Emmran and Asshukrie Wahid return to the fold after recovering from COVID-19 and injury respectively, although young defender Amer Hakeem remains out due to a fractured foot.
Club news: Sailors – Pedro ready to make amends and raring to go
- The Sailors are unbeaten against Balestier in five encounters since their 2020 inception.
- Balestier are win-less in their last 13 away matches – they last won on the road in December 2020 in a 2-1 win at Hougang.
- The Sailors have lost just once in 13 home matches at Jalan Besar since 2021.
- The Sailors have scored the third-least number of goals this season with five (Geylang have four and Young Lions have three), while Balestier have scored the joint third-most number of goals with nine along with Tampines (Tanjong Pagar have 10 and Albirex have 12).
- Balestier’s Ryoya Taniguchi has scored in each of his last two appearances against the Sailors when he was still with Albirex in 2021.
- Balestier have conceded at least two goals in each of their last seven matches since a 1-0 win over Tanjong Pagar in September 2021.
Stags looking to improve on recent Eastern Derby record
Geylang International vs Tampines Rovers | 2 Apr | 5.30pm | Our Tampines Hub | Singtel Ch 112, StarHub Ch 201
Team news: Geylang have a largely fit squad to call upon bar Joshua Pereira, who will only join the team after finishing National Service in May.
For Tampines, there are no notable absentees as well as they look to build on the morale-boosting 7-1 win over Hougang the last time out.
Club news: Geylang – Sakuma ready for Derby challenge
- Tampines have won just once out of the last five encounters since 2020.
- Three out of the last five encounters have ended in 1-1 draws.
- Tampines’ Christopher van Huizen and Firdaus Kasman will face their former club for the first time since crossing over from their Eastern rivals.
Young Lions hopeful of first win
Young Lions vs Tanjong Pagar United | 2 Apr | 5.30pm | Jalan Besar | Singtel Ch 111, StarHub Ch 202
Team news: Young Lions continue to miss long-term injury victims Jordan Emaviwe and Danish Irfan, but the duo of Zamani Zamri and Daniel Goh is set for a return after missing out on selection the last time out.
As for Tanjong Pagar, Shahrin Saberin has joined Shakir Hamzah on the sidelines for the next few months due to a ligament injury while Rusyaidi Salime remains doubtful after missing the last three matches through injury. Daniel Bennett is not fully match-fit yet but they will welcome back Japanese wing-back Shodai Nishikawa, who missed the 1-1 draw with Geylang two weeks ago due to COVID-19.
- Tanjong Pagar are the only undefeated side in 2022, while Young Lions are the only one without a win to date.
- Tanjong Pagar were undefeated in three encounters in 2021, with a record of two wins and a draw.
- Young Lions last defeated Tanjong Pagar in December 2020 in a 4-2 win away at Jurong East.
- Young Lions have conceded at least a goal in each of their last 38 SPL matches since a 3-0 win over Home United in September 2019.
- Young Lions won two out of their last 22 home matches at Jalan Besar since March 2019.
- Tanjong Pagar are undefeated in their last seven SPL matches – their best-run of form since an 11-match streak in May 2000.
- Reo Nishiguchi has scored in three out of his four starts against Young Lions since his SPL arrival in 2020 – he has scored six goals in his last six appearances since September 2021.