News • June 18, 2016

Protectors Face An In-Form White Swans


Written by: Shawn Lim

Albirex Niigata (S) vs Home United

(Saturday, 18 June, 8pm, Jurong East Stadium)

An in-form Albirex Niigata (S) side will welcome an out-of-sorts Home United to the Jurong East Stadium on Saturday night as the Japanese look to continue the amazing season they are having so far in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.

The White Swans have scored the most (33) and conceded the least (9) goals so far this season and are sitting comfortably at the summit, with title rivals Tampines Rovers seven points behind in second place.

While the Japanese side’s attacking display and entertaining football have earned critical acclaim so far, they have also shown that they are made of sterner stuff when the going is tough and are able to work as a unit to overcome the challenges.

Struggling to build up any sort of meaningful attack against a defensive Hougang United the last time out and going a goal down before half-time, the White Swans made some tactical changes after the break to storm back and win the game to stretch their unbeaten run to nine games.

Albirex’s steel and mettle earned praise from Cheetahs’ coach K.Balagumaran after the game, who also pointed out why the Japanese side are hard to stop this season.

“The thing about this Albirex team is that they are very strong as a unit,” said Bala.

“There’s no individuals, as compared to Tampines who have Jermaine Pennant and Jordan Webb, or us who have Kogure.

“Their team last year was technically better, but this team work well collectively: moving up and down together. That makes them very strong and they have a very good coach as well.

“I think they have a very high chance of winning the title if they continue in this manner.”

That teamwork though, is something Home is sorely lacking at the moment, as the Protectors have failed to reproduce the form that they shown before the international break when the league resumed.

A poor defensive display in the draw against the Garena Young Lions was followed up by a 3-1 loss to Balestier Khalsa left the Protectors scratching their heads to find out the reasons for their struggles.

Home, who looked toothless upfront against the Tigers without main striker Ken Ilso, will heaved a sigh of relief that the Dane is back after incurring a heel problem against the Young Lions.

Things however, are looking rather grim at the back for the Protectors, as captain Juma’at Jantan, R.Aaravin, Ang Zhi Wei are ruled out, while Sufianto Salleh will miss the game against White Swans after receiving a straight red card in the loss to the Tigers.

Suspension: Sufianto Salleh (Home United)

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWWWW

15/06/16  Hougang United 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)

10/06/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 Warriors FC (S.League)

20/05/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International (S.League)

06/05/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 6-0 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)

28/04/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Garena Young Lions (S.League)

Home United – WWWDL

14/06/16  Home United 1-3 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)

11/06/16  Garena Young Lions 2-2 Home United (S.League)

26/05/16  Home United 2-1 Hougang United (Singapore Cup)

19/05/16  Home United 5-0 Brunei DPMM (S.League)

13/05/16  Tampines Rovers 1-2 Home United (S.League)

Head to Head (S.League)

08/04/16  Home United 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S)

20/08/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 0-0 Home United

22/04/15  Home United 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

24/10/14  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Home United

21/08/14  Home United 4-2 Albirex Niigata (S)