Singapore Premier League • April 14, 2023
2023 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 9: Preview
Jared Gallagher against Lion City Sailors, 13 August 2022.
SINGAPORE, 14 APRIL 2023 – A huge shakeup in standings is on the horizon as Matchweek 9 of the 2023 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season kicks off tomorrow. A Young Lions side that has finally escaped the bottom of the table will hope for more points when they face Lion City Sailors in the opening game of Matchweek 9. Elsewhere, current league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) are eager to extend their winning streak against Brunei DPMM.
An exciting mid-table clash goes down at Jurong East Stadium between Tanjong Pagar United and Balestier Khalsa on Sunday, with both sides keen to rebound from losses in the previous matchweek. Tampines Rovers play their first fixture of two this matchweek on the same day, traveling to Jalan Besar Stadium to face a struggling Hougang United side.
Matchweek 9 rounds off with a clash between Tampines Rovers and Brunei DPMM and the result could determine whether the Stags reclaim their position at the top of the table.
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Young Lions rising up the ranks
Young Lions vs Lion City Sailors | 15 Apr | 8.30pm | Jalan Besar Stadium
Team news: Young Lions will be without full backs Raoul Suhaimi and Andrew Aw due to injury. Midfielder Elijah Lim is also a doubt for this fixture while Harith Kanadi is suspended.
Key striker Kodai Tanaka, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud and youngster Anaqi Ismit are injured while captain Hariss Harun is suffering from an illness. But the Sailors will be boosted by the return of defender Nur Adam Abdullah.
- It took Young Lions 734 days to finally move up from the bottom of the table when they drew with Brunei DPMM – the last time they were not in last place was during Matchweek 5 of the 2021 SPL season.
- Young Lions suffered their worst ever defeat courtesy of the Lion City Sailors – a 1-10 thrashing in the 2022 SPL season.
- Young Lions scored two goals in two minutes for the second time this season when they drew 2-2 with Brunei DPMM.
- After bagging two goals and two assists last matchweek, Sailors winger Maxime Lestienne is up to a total of 13 goal contributions in seven games, the most of any player this season.
- In just five games this season, Sailors forward Abdul Rasaq has scored as many goals as he did the whole of 2022 with the Young Lions.
Maxime Lestienne celebrating, 10 Apr 2023.
League leaders eager to extend winning streak
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Brunei DPMM | 15 Apr | 8.30pm | Jurong East Stadium
Team news: Nicky Singh is fit again but Zamani Zamri remains injured.
Meanwhile, defender Nurikhwan Othman remains sidelined for the Bruneians.
- Neither Albirex manager Kazuaki Yoshinaga nor Brunei DPMM manager Adrian Pennock has ever lost to the opposing team in their managerial career.
- Brunei DPMM has lost six, drawn two and won two of the club’s past 10 matches against Albirex Niigata (S) in all competitions.
- Brunei DPMM midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman is the top goal scorer for this fixture, finding the back of the net five times in the 24 fixtures he has played since 2013.
- Albirex Niigata (S) have the most shots on target (51) this season, with their top goalscorer, Seia Kunori, contributing just over a quarter of those shots on target (13).
- Albirex is the only club to have committed more than 100 fouls this season.
Seia Kunori celebrating, 10 April 2023.
Both sides keen to rebound
Tanjong Pagar United vs Balestier Khalsa | 16 Apr | 8.30pm | Jurong East Stadium
Team news: Jaguars skipper Faritz Hameed and Pedro Dias remain sidelined due to injury. Tajeli Salamt is available for selection once again having completed his two-match suspension.
Tigers’ skipper Shuhei Hoshino remains injured.
- The Jaguars had a perfect record against the Tigers last season, winning all four fixtures between the two sides.
- Midfielder Fathullah Rahmat remains the youngest goal scorer for the Jaguars when he netted against Albirex Niigata (S) at the age of 19 years and 40 days during the 2021 SPL season.
- Balestier midfielder Ryoya Taniguchi is the league’s highest scoring midfielder with six goals to his name.
- A defeat will see the Jaguars lose consecutive home games for the first time since Aug 2022.
- The Tigers have failed to keep a clean sheet in their past 24 matches since a 2-0 win against the Young Lions on Matchweek 18 of the 2022 SPL season.
Ho Wai Loon heading the ball, 12 April 2023.
Cheetahs starving for a win
Hougang United FC vs Tampines Rovers FC | 16 Apr | 8.30pm | Jalan Besar Stadium
Team news: Shahdan Sulaiman remains sidelined for the Cheetahs while Nazrul Nazari remains a doubt.
Meanwhile, Stags’ full back Amirul Haikal picked up a knee injury and joins Syahrul Sazali on the sidelines.
- Hougang United has won six out of the past 10 matches against Tampines Rovers in all competitions.
- The Cheetahs are the only side yet to record a home win this season.
- Hougang United left-back Jordan Vestering will record his 50th appearance for the club if he plays against Tampines Rovers on Sunday.
- Stags forward Boris Kopitovic is the fixture’s top goal scorer with 14 goals in 12 games since he joined the club in January 2020.
Kristijan Krajcek, 10 April 2023.
Stags eye opportunity to regain top position
Tampines Rovers FC vs Brunei DPMM FC | 20 Apr | 8.30pm | Our Tampines Hub | Singtel Ch, StarHub Ch
- Brunei DPMM manager Adrian Pennock has only played against Tampines Rovers three times in his career, winning once and losing twice to the Stags during the 2019 SPL season.
- Brunei DPMM centre-back Angel Martinez scored his first goal for the club last matchweek – his last goal came in 2018 when he played for the Greek side Asteras Tripolis.
- Eight of the 11 players that started in Brunei DPMM’s latest win over Tampines Rovers, a 2-1 win on Matchweek 5 of the 2019 SPL season, remain with the club today.
- Tampines Rovers is the only club that remains unbeaten this season.
- Stags forward Boris Kopitovic has the second-most shots this season, making up nearly a third of the club’s total shots – 30 out of 99 shots.
- When the Stags last played a double fixture matchweek, they lost one (2-4 to Hougang United) and won one (4-1 to Geylang International).
Andrey Voronkov, 11 April 2023.