Singapore Premier League • October 29, 2015
Fireworks Expected Between White Swans And Warriors
Written by: Shawn Lim
Warriors FC vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(Friday, 30 October, 7.30pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
Livestream on VoxSports: http://voxsports.co/Match/Index/368
Fifth-placed Warriors FC will host fourth-placed Albirex Niigata (S) in a rescheduled match on Friday night at Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
This will be an intriguing matchup as both sides are tied at 36 points and will need a victory to keep pace with leaders Brunei DPMM at the top of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table.
Both sides have a chance to reduce DPMM’s lead to seven points after the Wasps lost to Tampines Rovers on Wednesday night.
Clashes between these two sides have also traditionally been a high-scoring affair, with 10 goals accounted for when they met on two previous occasions this season.
Albirex also currently have the best defensive record in the league this season – only conceding 13 goals – while the Warriors’ backline has been very leaky after conceding 40 goals – the most of any teams in the league.
However, the White Swans coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama will need to find a way to rejuvenate his players who have looked off the pace in their past five matches and have only picked up eight points out of a possible 15.
While the Japanese understands that his charges have had a long season, he believes that they are professional enough to see out the rest of the campaign and even win the title.
“We still have a possibility to win the league and as long as we have that possibility, we will do our best to win the title,” said the 39-year-old after his side’s 2-0 defeat of Geylang International.
“We need to go to the top of the table to do that and since we are all professionals, I believe that we will fight to the end.”
As for Warriors, the defending champions are determined to retain their title in spite of a disappointing season, but it remains to be seen if new coach Karim Bencherifa is able to work his magic so late in the season.
The signs are looking positive for the beleaguered club though, as they won their first post-Alex Weaver match convincingly against Hougang United, beating the Cheetahs 2-0.
Key Men To Watch
Warriors FC: Karlo Ivancic
The young Croatian had a quiet start to his career in the S.League, but is starting to show why he’s one of the brightest prospect in the league.
His ability to be in the right place at the right time is second to none and he packs a powerful shot as well.
Albirex Niigata (S): Fumiya Kogure
The 26-year-old Japanese was the brightest spark on the field in Albirex’s win against Geylang, which saw chances between both sides hard to come by.
Well known for his playmaking skills, Kogure has proven in recent matches that he is a team player, willing to help his team defend by putting pressure on opponents and stealing the ball off them.
Warriors will have to be think fast when they have the ball or Kogure will be on them in a matter of seconds.
Warriors FC – WDLLW
26/10/15 Warriors FC 2-0 Hougang United (S.League)
21/10/15 Home United 2-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
16/10/15 Courts Young Lions 2-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
19/09/15 Harimau Muda 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
13/09/15 Warriors FC 4-2 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
Albirex Niigata (S) – DWLDW
26/10/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International (S.League)
19/10/15 Harimau Muda 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
16/10/15 Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
02/10/15 Global FC 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (Singapore Cup)
16/09/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-0 Brunei DPMM (S.League)
Head To Head (S.League)
18/05/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC
14/03/15 Warriors FC 0-6 Albirex Niigata (S)
31/10/14 Warriors FC 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S)
01/08/14 Warriors FC 1-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
16/04/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC