Singapore Premier League • June 18, 2014
Confident Jaguars Entertain Rampant Albirex
Tanjong Pagar United vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(June 18, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Queenstown Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Tanjong Pagar United will be high on confidence when they entertain Albirex Niigata (S) at Queenstown Stadium, having earned back-to-back victories in the league for the first time this season.
They saw off the Courts Young Lions 3-0 in their last game and that came on the back of a 2-0 triumph over Woodlands Wellington as the Jaguars leapfrogged the latter to ninth in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League standings.
This term, injuries to key players in the first half of the season meant that coach Patrick Vallee has not been able to name the same starting line-up for each game and this has hurt them.
However, the Frenchman has received a boost in recent weeks, welcoming back the likes of Ahmad Latiff and Kamel Ramdani back to the fold and their return among others have coincided with the team’s turn of fortunes.
Three points here for the 2013 RHB Singapore Cup finalists could see them overtake Geylang International but they would also claim their first victory over the Japanese side since 2011. As such, expect the players to be fired up for this one.
Albirex on the other hand, sit sixth on 27 points and are still in the running for the title as they trail leaders Brunei DPMM by five points.
They come into this one after a 7-1 win over a beleaguered Woodlands Wellington in a game where Kazuki Sakamoto grabbed a hat-trick to propel himself to the top of the goalscoring charts.
That said, he is the main man Tanjong Pagar have to stop as he has the ability to cause damage with his pace and accuracy in shooting.
The White Swans are well-known for their brand of passing football which can be a joy to watch, but it can also be frustrating for their opponents who are unable to nick the ball off them.
In the corresponding fixture in April, Albirex had to come from behind to beat Tanjong Pagar 2-1 It was Sakamoto who struck a late winner after Shuhei Hotta had cancelled out an own goal from Soichiro Tanaka.
Key Men To Watch
Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson
He has started in all of Tanjong Pagar’s 16 games thus far and although his team have already conceded 26 goals, the French goalkeeper is actually one of the better performers.
Against Woodlands two matches ago, Herisson was in imperious form as he kept the Rams attackers at bay with a number of good saves which earned him his first clean sheet in the league this term.
According to InStat, he saved 62% of the shots that went his way. He was also accurate in his passing at the same time with all 23 out of 26 passes he executed finding its target and this could come in handy as they try to unlock the Albirex defence.
Albirex Niigata (S): Itsuki Yamada
While teammate Sakamoto has been hogging the headlines for his goalscoring feats, Yamada has been quietly performing his defensive duties at the back with little fuss.
The Albirex skipper who has three goals to his name, also likes to bomb forward when his team are on the offense and his crossing ability can cause some problems for the opposing defence.
With an InStat score of 84, the 23-year-old had a 74% accuracy rate in his passing and lost out in only one of the defensive challenges he was involved in.
Tanjong Pagar United – WWLWD
12/6/14 Tanjong Pagar United 3-0 Courts Young Lions
7/6/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-2 Tanjong Pagar United
4/6/14 Tanjong Pagar United 0-3 Balestier Khalsa
26/5/14 Tanjong Pagar United 1-0 Hougang United (RHB Singapore Cup)
21/5/14 Hougang United 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United
Albirex Niigata (S) – WDLWW
11/6/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 7-1 Woodlands Wellington
8/6/14 Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
5/6/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-1 Hougang United
28/5/14 Svay Rieng FC 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup)
23/5/14 Harimau Muda 1-4 Albirex Niigata (S)
Head to Head (S.League)
4/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tanjong Pagar United
24/9/13 Tanjong Pagar United 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
16/7/13 Tanjong Pagar United 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S)
2/4/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United
21/6/12 Tanjong Pagar United 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
17/2/12 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-1 Tanjong Pagar United
4/8/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Tanjong Pagar United
6/6/11 Tanjong Pagar United 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
16/2/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 5-0 Tanjong Pagar United