Singapore Premier League • May 7, 2014
Point-less Young Tigers entertain Rams
Harimau Muda vs Woodlands Wellington
(May 7, Wednesday, 8.45pm, Pasir Gudang Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Still searching for their first point of the season, Harimau Muda will lock horns with visitors Woodlands Wellington at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on Wednesday evening.
After ten matches into the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season, Harimau have yet to taste victory this season and find themselves rooted at the bottom of the table.
While they have been playing decent football so far, they have been found wanting in most matches where inexperience has cost them games.
The Young Tigers fell 2-0 to Balestier Khalsa in their last match, in a game where they created decent opportunities throughout but were ultimately defeated by a more clinical Balestier side who scored in the first-half through Zulkiffli Hassim and Goran Ljubojevic.
Winger Nurshamil Abd Ghani put in a good shift on the left and was a spark in the Harimau side and coach Razip Ismail will be hoping for more of the same from the 19-year-old as they look for their first point of the campaign.
However, they will not have it easy against a Woodlands side who are looking to return to winning ways after they were defeated by 2-0 by Brunei DPMM the last time out.
Woodlands have been inconsistent so far this season although they have recently claimed the scalp of defending champions Tampines Rovers and nothing less than a win here will please coach Darren Stewart.
Defender Walid Lounis will serve the first of his two-match ban after an early red card in their match against the Wasps and it will be interesting to see how Stewart reshuffles his pack to accommodate the absence of Lounis.
Although this looks like a straightforward victory for the away side on paper, Woodlands have been blowing hot and cold this season and therefore there is a good chance Harimau could emerge with a surprise win to put an end to their dismal start to the season.
Suspension: Walid Lounis (Woodlands)
Key Men To Watch
Harimau Muda: Nurshamil Abd Ghani
The winger-cum-forward was one who stood out in their defeat to Balestier Khalsa the last time out as he terrorised the Tigers defence with his mazy runs and created several openings for his team.
This was also evident in their 3-4 defeat to Hougang United two matches ago where he was one of the better performers with an InStat index of 84 which was fifth in terms of left midfielders.
Despite playing slightly over half an hour against the Cheetahs, Nurshamil managed to find the net twice out of the three shots he had on target and will be hoping to do the same against Woodlands.
Woodlands Wellington: Atsushi Shimono
Signed from fellow S.League side Albirex Niigata (S) two years ago, Atsushi Shimono has established himself as a mainstay in the Woodlands engine room with an eye for a pass and being able to pop up with the odd goal as we saw in their 2-1 win over Tampines Rovers.
Against the Stags, the Japanese midfielder’s passing accuracy was at 93% with only two of his 27 passes failing to find his target while executing a successful 83% of his tackles and he could be tasked to break up a Harimau midfield comprising of Afiq Fazail and Irfan Zakaria.
Harimau Muda – LLLLL
30/4/14 Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Harimau Muda
24/4/14 Harimau Muda 3-4 Hougang United
20/4/14 Harimau Muda 2-3 Courts Young Lions
11/4/14 Brunei DPMM 5-0 Harimau Muda
3/4/14 Harimau Muda 0-3 Geylang International
Woodlands Wellington – LDWLL
30/4/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-2 Brunei DPMM
26/4/14 Geylang International 1-1 Woodlands Wellington
18/4/14 Tampines Rovers 1-2 Woodlands Wellington
13/4/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-3 Home United
3/4/14 Warriors FC 1-0 Woodlands Wellington
Head to Head (S.League)
18/5/13 Harimau Muda 2-0 Woodlands Wellington
26/2/13 Woodlands Wellington 1-2 Harimau Muda
22/9/12 Woodlands Wellington 0-2 Harimau Muda
15/4/12 Harimau Muda 2-1 Woodlands Wellington