News • February 14, 2016
Eagles Ready To Flex Wings Against Stags
Written by: Shawn Lim
Tampines Rovers vs Geylang International
(Monday, 15 February, 7.30pm, Jurong West Stadium)
The second derby of the week sees Tampines Rovers go head to head with Geylang International in the first Eastern Derby of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2016 season on Monday night at Jurong West Stadium.
The Stags have invested heavily in their squad in the off-season, signing up to nine players from the disbanded LionsXII, former Arsenal winger Jermaine Pennant and former Sarawak FA striker Billy Mehmet.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have recruited well too, adding a mix of experienced and talent to their squad with the signing of veterans like Daniel Bennett, Indra Sahdan, Shariff Samad and hot prospects like Sahil Suhaimi, Amy Recha and Gabriel Quak.
However, Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani is aware that the Stags have a very strong squad and believes that the battle will be won in midfield.
“We know that Tampines is a strong team, because they have strong players like Pennant and Mehmet and basically, they have 22 very good players,” said the 40-year-old to S.League.com
“So we have to be prepared in terms of who they want to play. In midfield, they have very hardworking players like Izzdin (Shafiq) and Yasir (Hanapi)..both are very hardworking players. They are the ones that makes the midfield tick.
“At the same time, you have Shahdan (Sulaiman), you have Fazrul (Nawaz) and now you have to cope with Mehmet. They also have Jordan (Webb) on the right or left and then there is Pennant.
“I think they have a good squad where going forward, they will be dangerous. But I think the battle will be in midfield.”
The rookie coach has tinkered with his squad in terms of personnel and formation during pre-season, but he admits that he has a headache over who to start even though he already has a formation in mind.
The Eagles will also miss the services of Bennett and Isa Halim because of suspension and have a few injury concerns as well, but Hasrin is not too overly worried.
“It is a good headache for me because I still don’t know who will be in my first 11. I told the players from the start that everyone stand an equal chance,” said Hasrin with a laugh.
“I am going for a 4-3-3, but it is just a formation. You can say it is a 4-2-3-1, but to me it looks like a 4-3-3.
“We have Shahfiq (Ghani) and Shawal (Anuar) out because of injuries, Isa (Halim) and Daniel (Bennett) are out because of suspension. Gabriel (Quak) and Stanely (Ng) getting better, but they are still doubtful.
“Without Bennett, we still have a team. The rest of the players, they work hard as well. So I cannot depend on one player. I have 24 players, so I have Dhuki (Dhukilan Jeevamani), Shariff (Samad) and Anders (Aplin).”
The Stags have beaten the Eagles in three of their past five meetings and the title favourites will be hoping to extend that run to four games on Monday night.
Suspensions: Daniel Bennett, Isa Halim (both Geylang International)
Key Men to Watch
Tampines Rovers: Shahdan Sulaiman
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder will be the main creative spark for the Stags and will be hoping to use this match to secure his spot in the team after failing to hold down a regular spot in the LionsXII after returning from injury.
Shahdan will have no problems spraying his defence-splitting pass to either Fazrul or Mehmet, but he is also capable of cracking off one or two shots from outside the 18-yard box.
Geylang International: Nor Azli Yusoff
With Isa suspended, the defensive duties in midfield will fall to Nor Azli and the veteran midfielder will have his hands full all night with the likes Shahdan, Fabian Kwok or event Pennant in the middle of the park.
The 33-year-old veteran will most likely sit deeper to protect the defence as well if Hasrin decides to go for a three-man midfield, as the backline will be vulnerable with the absence of Bennett.
Tampines Rovers – DLLWD
21/11/15 Tampines Rovers 1-1 Harimau Muda (S.League)
13/11/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
08/11/15 Home United 2-3 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
05/11/15 Balestier Khalsa 4-3 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
02/11/15 Tampines Rovers 0-0 Warriors FC (S.League)
Geylang International – WWDDW
20/11/15 Geylang International 6-0 Warriors FC (S.League)
09/11/15 Geylang International 2-2 Hougang United (S.League)
06/11/15 Courts Young Lions 2-2 Geylang International (S.League)
03/11/15 Geylang International 2-1 Brunei DPMM (S.League)
30/10/15 Geylang International 2-1 Home United (S.League)
Head To Head (S.League)
20/10/15 Geylang International 1-4 Tampines Rovers
29/07/15 Tampines Rovers 2-0 Geylang International
03/04/15 Geylang International 3-2 Tampines Rovers
06/06/14 Geylang International 1 – 0 Tampines Rovers
16/03/14 Tampines Rovers 3 – 0 Geylang International