Singapore Premier League • May 8, 2014

Mid-Table Clash Awaits At Jurong East


Albirex Niigata (S) vs Geylang International

(May 8, Thursday, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)

Written by: Muhammad Yazid

After their respective 1-1 draws against Tampines Rovers and Tanjong Pagar United, fifth-placed Albirex Niigata (S) welcome Geylang International to Jurong East Stadium as they look to return to winning ways and keep pace at the top.

Prior to the draw, the White Swans were on the back of a 4-0 drubbing by Warriors FC at the same ground three weeks ago, a result that ended their four-match unbeaten run.

However, that would be deemed as history as the Japanese re-wrote their fate and famously thumped Home United 4-2.

Coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama will therefore hope for a positive reaction from his charges but will have to ensure they do not lose possession carelessly. According to InStat, they were the team with the highest number of lost balls at 138, with 24 coming in their own half.

They will not find it easy coming up against Jorg Steinebrunner’s side who are unbeaten in seven games and will be eager to keep that good run going.

The German has managed to turn things around since his arrival and this has led to results which include a 1-1 draw against Brunei DPMM and a last-gasp win over Hougang United.

On the downside, the Eagles’ last three matches ended up in 1-1 draws, which included the battles with Balestier Khalsa and Woodlands Wellington.

Striker Leonel Felice has hit a purple patch lately after banging in five goals in as many games, and he is a man Albirex have to keep an eye on.

Key Men To Watch:

Albirex Niigata (S): Kazuki Sakamoto

Clearly the first name which everyone looks out for in the starting line-up whenever Albirex plays, Sakamoto has never been in poor form so far this season.

He helped his team pull off an astounding 4-2 win over Home United with a brace, and the forward has seven goals in his bag so far. Fans can anticipate an intriguing battle at the attacking third as his compatriots Yuki Ichikawa and Kento Fukuda will be doing all they can to put a halt to the antics he and his teammates come up with.

Geylang International: Mustaqim Manzur

Not a regular goal-scorer, but talk about having a sweet right foot and it shall be only Mustaqim’s. It was his free-kick which led to Kento Fukuda’s goal which put Geylang in the driving seat against Woodlands Wellington, before the winger almost made it two with a curling free-kick from 30-yards which clipped off the upright.

The former national player also has trickery which provides him with the pace and ability to take on defenders on the flanks.

Albirex Niigata (S) – DWLWW

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

27/4/14     Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Home United

16/4/14     Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC

10/4/14     Courts Young Lions 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)

4/4/14       Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tanjong Pagar United

Geylang International – DDDWW

1/5/14       Geylang International 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United

26/4/14     Geylang International 1-1 Woodlands Wellington

17/4/14     Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Geylang International

11/4/14     Geylang International 3-2 Hougang United

3/4/14       Harimau Muda 0-3 Geylang International

Head to Head (S.League)

3/8/13       Albirex Niigata (S) 0-0 Geylang International

12/4/13     Geylang International 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S)

20/10/12   Albirex Niigata (S) 1-1 Geylang International

26/4/12     Geylang International 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

5/10/11     Albirex Niigata (S) 6-1 Geylang International

24/6/11     Geylang International 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

30/3/11     Albirex Niigata (S) 3-1 Geylang International