Singapore Premier League • August 1, 2014
Title-chasers Looking To Put Knockouts Behind Them
Warriors FC vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(August 1, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Kenneth Ho
It is back to league duties for Warriors FC and Albirex Niigata, as both clubs look to resume their challenge for the title and heap on the pressure on league leaders Brunei DPMM.
More than that, both clubs will be keen to move on from the month of July, where either suffered heartbreak in the StarHub League Cup 2014 quarter-finals.
With nothing but the league to fight for – both clubs have also been knocked out of the RHB Singapore Cup 2014 – as well as the attacking prowess of both clubs, one can be sure that an exciting match-up is on hands as the title race heats up.
The league’s second top scorer on 15 goals, Kazuki Sakamoto should be fronting the line for the White Swans and posing a constant danger to the Warriors.
On the other side, Nicholas Velez and Miroslav Pejic have accounted for 23 goals between them in the league so far, and their partnership is nothing to be scoffed at.
Warriors will have to do some reshuffling though, as Irwan Shah is out on suspension. Frequently fielded on the flanks this season, his unavailability might see youngster Suria Prakash getting a run out.
However, some good news for them will be the return of Hassan Sunny. The goalkeeper was called away for international duties for three weeks, and his return to the squad should inspire confidence and boost morale.
Suspension: Irwan Shah (Warriors FC)
Key Men To Watch
Warriors FC: Thomas Beattie
The hardman is brave, and will dive into any challenge as long as it is legal to do so. He will be an important factor in disrupting play and winning the ball to upset the passing game of Albirex, who prefer to stoke the ball around with a slow tempo.
Without the ball, Albirex are unable to do much, and that should play into the Warriors’ hands.
Albirex Niigata (S): Norihiro Kawagami
The Japanese was let go by Tampines Rovers during mid-season, and this was in part down to his poor form.
However, ever since Kawagami has signed for Albirex, he seemed to have regain his confidence, as well as the performances which encourages the Stags to opt for him at the start of the season.
Strong in the air, Kawagami will be tasked with keeping the equally aerially-competent Pejic quiet in this game.
Warriors FC – LLWWL
18/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United (AET) 1-0 Warriors FC (StarHub League Cup QF)
15/7/14 Warriors FC 0-4 Geylang International (StarHub League Cup Group B)
12/7/14 Tampines Rovers 2-3 Warriors FC (StarHub League Cup Group B)
23/6/14 Warriors FC 4-1 Tanjong Pagar United
20/6/14 Woodlands Wellington 1-0 Warriors FC
Albirex Niigata (S) – LWLLL
18/7/14 Geylang International 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (StarHub League Cup QF)
10/7/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 13-0 Police SA (StarHub League Cup Group A)
7/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United 4-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (StarHub League Cup Group A)
4/7/14 Brunei DPMM 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)
29/6/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-4 Brunei DPMM (RHB Singapore Cup QF 1st Leg)
Head to Head (S.League)
16/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC
20/9/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-3 Warriors FC
10/5/13 Warriors FC 2-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
17/6/12 Warriors FC 3-4 Albirex Niigata (S)
10/2/12 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 Warriors FC
28/11/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Warriors FC
13/7/11 Warriors FC 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
28/4/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 6-3 Warriors FC