News • September 8, 2016

RHB Singapore Cup 2016: White Swans Seeking To Secure First-Leg Victory


Written by: Shawn Lim

RHB Singapore Cup 2016 (Semi-Final 1st Leg)

Albirex Niigata (S) vs Balestier Khalsa
(Friday, 9 September, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)

A meeting with Tampines Rovers in the final of the 2016 RHB Singapore Cup will be up for grabs when Albirex Niigata (S) welcome Balestier Khalsa to Jurong East Stadium on Friday night in the first-leg of their semi-final clash.

The White Swans are currently the defending champions of the competition and having made history this year by becoming the only club to retain The New Paper League Cup in back to back years, will be aiming to add another silverware to their trophy cabinet.

Warriors, formerly known Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC) and Home United are the only clubs to have managed to win the Singapore Cup in consecutive years, and that will give White Swans added incentives to join the two giant clubs in the record books.

Naoki Naruo’s men will first have to navigate two tricky tries against Balestier Khalsa, who won the competition in 2014 and are famous for doing exceptionally well in cup competitions in spite of their small-sized squad.

Albirex will also be without Atsushi Kawata, who is currently the second-joint top scorer in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League, because of suspension, but the striker will be available for the second-leg.

Meanwhile, Balestier are hoping to get their hands on the Singapore Cup again, which will salvage a season which has seen the Toa Payoh-based club struggling for goals as well as coping with the rigors of the S.League and the AFC Cup.

The Tigers are currently languishing in eighth place in the league table and with the season coming to a close, it is starting to look as though that will be their final position.

With much at stake, Marko Kraljevic will most likely ask his charges to secure a point against the White Swans, before securing the tie back at home, as Albirex have tended to struggle on the heavy surface at Toa Payoh Stadium.

Balestier also will take on the White Swans without Fazli Ayob and Naqiuddin Nodin because of injuries, but will welcome back captain Zaiful Nizam from a finger injury.

Suspension: Atsushi Kawata (Albirex Niigata (S))

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWLWW

19/08/16  Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
11/08/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
05/08/16  Brunei DPMM 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
30/07/16  Brunei DPMM 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
26/07/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)

Balestier Khalsa – DLWLL

25/08/16  Geylang International 2-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
19/08/16  Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
05/08/16  Garena Young Lions 1-3 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
22/07/16  Hougang United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)
21/07/16  Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Home United (League Cup)