News • July 27, 2017

Razif Seeks Consistency Against Defending Champions


Warriors FC vs Albirex Niigata (S)

(29 July, Saturday, 7.30pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)

Written by: Rashid Sulaiman

Warriors FC head coach Razif Onn has called for consistency as they welcome Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturday.

Still harbouring hopes of a title charge, Razif feels that his charges needs to tighten at the back while banging in the goals upfront. The nine-time league champions are currently in fourth position on 25 points, having scored 22 goals and conceding 18 goals so far this campaign.

The White Swans on the other hand sit pretty on top on 34 points, with an impressive 40-goal haul to their name while leaking only 11 at the other end.

Both teams met in the recently-concluded The New Paper League Cup Final with Albirex successfully defending their title with an extra-time winner from Tsubasa Sano. While Warriors had a good run in the final, they were undone by poor finishing in the final third.

“If you look back last year, our goals conceded and goals scored are about the same. It is something that we should be working toward improving. We could have done better in the second round of the S.League,” said Razif.

“But in the League Cup we conceded many goals even in matches that we won. We have to be consistent. I know the strikers are trying their best and we should be thankful to them.”

Razif’s worry could well be justified as his opposite number, Kazuaki Yoshinaga had saved their ammunition in their previous match against Balestier Khalsa in anticipation of this tie.

“While I was disappointed with the goal we conceded, I would rather not dwell on it and look forward to our next game against Warriors FC instead,” the Albirex head coach said.

“We have another game on Saturday. It’s only two days of rest and it will be our eighth game in July.

“That is why we played (against Balestier) conservatively to conserve our energy. Not so good for the spectators but our aim was to get the three points.”

“After the high of winning League Cup, we need to adjust back to reality and come back and get three points in the S.League. It won’t easy for the player physically and mentally,” added the title-winning coach.

But despite another prospect of a tough match, Razif is playing it cool and not to get any unnecessary pressure for his players.

“With respect to any opponent, of course we do not take them lightly. But we need to take each game at a time and to remain focus.

“Our team are motivated but fatigue might start to come in and if it does it might be difficult for us against Albirex,” explained the 63-year old.

Warriors are likely to keep faith with the front two of captain Shahril Ishak and mid-season signing Andrei-Cosmin Ciolacu upfront with Jordan Webb deployed to the wings.

In addition, Zulfadli Zainal and Firdaus Kasman both return from suspension and will provide Razif with fresh legs if needed.

For Albirex, they do not have any suspension worry but Ryota Nakai could be left out of this tie as he was not selected for their previous game due to injury.

One player that the Warriors’ backline need to be wary of however is leading goalscorer Sano who has plundered 17 goals so far.

Warriors FC – WDWLD

25/07/17 Home United 1-1 Warriors FC

21/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

18/07/17 Brunei DPMM 1-5 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

13/07/17 Hougang United 2-2 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

07/07/17 Warriors FC 4-3 Home United (The New Paper League Cup)

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWWWW

26/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Balestier Khalsa

21/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

18/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)

13/07/17 Home United 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (The New Paper League Cup)

10/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

Head to Head (S.League)

29/04/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Warriors FC

30/09/16  Warriors FC 2-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

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

18/03/16  Warriors FC 2-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

30/10/15  Warriors FC 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)