Singapore Premier League • June 5, 2014

Cheetahs Look To Put Cup Disappointment Behind Them


Albirex Niigata (S) vs Hougang United

(Jun 5, Thursday, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)

Written by: Kenneth Ho

Albirex Niigata will have their hands full as they attempt to navigate their way past Hougang United after the RHB Singapore Cup preliminary round.

While Albirex enjoyed a dominant win over Svay Rieng in the Singapore Cup, Hougang crashed to a 1-0 defeat against Tanjong Pagar.

As such, the Cheetahs will be looking to put the exit behind them by gaining a good result against Albirex.

Against the high-flying Cheetahs, the White Swans will need to be on their guard as they come up against one of the deadliest strike force in the league.

Between Hougang forwards Geison Moura and Diego Gama, the duo have already chalked up 16 goals between them and that could instill fear into most defences.

In contrast, Albirex have only Kazuki Sakamoto to boast for their offensive threat, and if the striker fails to make an impact, the Japanese side will be considerably less dangerous although the likes of Okazaki and Keisuke Ota can also be depended on if needed.

Albirex are the type of team who believes in slow build-up plays, while Hougang tend to go route one. Against the fast and furious pace of the Cheetahs, the White Swans will have their hands full in trying to keep up.

Having been beaten already earlier this season by the Cheetahs, Albirex will be looking to return the favour. In any case, matches between these two have always yielded goals and this might prove to be the case once again.

Key Men To Watch

Albirex Niigata (S): Kazuki Sakamoto

You want the goods, he got the goods. The Japanese has flourished this season, as he leads Albirex in the scoring department. After earning a hat-trick against Harimau Muda, the striker will be keen to etch his name on the scoreboard once again.

The striker hit the target six times in nine shots against the Young Tigers, and showed that he cannot be allowed time nor space to cause damage.

Hougang United: Igor Cerina

Cerina will need to be on his toes, when he comes face to face with Sakamoto at Jurong East Stadium. With his good tackling, as exemplified by his 67% success rate of challenges against Tanjong Pagar, Cerina will be looking to shrug off any moves Sakamoto can pull off.

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWLWD

28/5/14   Svay Rieng FC 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup)

23/5/14   Harimau Muda 1-4 Albirex Niigata (S)

14/5/14   Brunei DPMM 2-1 Albirex NIigata (S)

8/5/14     Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Geylang International

1/5/14     Tampines Rovers 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

Hougang United – LDDWL

26/5/14   Tanjong Pagar United 1-0 Hougang United (RHB Singapore Cup)

21/5/14   Hougang United 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United

15/5/14   Woodlands Wellington 1-1 Hougang United

9/5/14     Hougang United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa

2/5/14     Hougang United 0-3 Courts Young Lions

Head to Head (S.League)

12/3/14   Hougang United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

24/5/13   Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Hougang United

8/3/13     Hougang United 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

20/9/12   Albirex Niigata (S) 2-3 Hougang United

13/4/12   Hougang United 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)

24/10/11 Hougang United 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

7/7/11      Albirex Niigata (S) 5-1 Hougang United

18/4/11    Hougang United 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S)