News Singapore Premier League • May 17, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Balestier take on Home in historic clash at Sports Hub
Noor Akid Nordin has established himself as a key Balestier Khalsa FC player.
SINGAPORE, 17 MAY 2018 – Home United FC and Balestier Khalsa FC will play a Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) game at the iconic National Stadium for the first time ever on Saturday, 19 May. Kick-off is at 8.30pm.
BACKGROUND Tampines Rovers and Albirex Niigata FC (S) are the only SPL sides that have played at the Sports Hub to date.
But that will all change this weekend, starting with Home’s clash against Balestier at the National Stadium.
The Protectors began their season with a convincing 3-1 win over Balestier, looking ready to mount a serious title challenge.
However, six games later, they find themselves behind the pace by 11 points and there is plenty of catching up to do, especially with league leaders Albirex looking relentless on their title charge.
Morale will be high in the Bishan-based club’s camp, especially after they qualified for their second consecutive AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final.
But it will not be an easy task against a well-rested Tigers outfit, which gave third-placed Brunei DPMM a run for their money before succumbing to a 2-1 loss in the last round.
Balestier were resilient against the Bruneians and could have walked away with at least a point, only for DPMM goalkeeper Haimie Nyaring to thwart their efforts.
The Protectors will also have to ward off fatigue, coming into the game on the back of a grueling AFC Cup encounter with Persija Jakarta four days prior.
They might have earned a morale-boosting 3-1 win in Indonesia, but the game was of a high intensity and Balestier are a physical side taht will bully their opponents into submission if the opportunity presents itself.
TEAM NEWS Home have no injury woes but Head Coach Aidil Sharin could well rotate some of his players.
Balestier have three confirmed absentees – goalkeeper Nazri Sabri (dislocated finger), Sheikh Abdul Hadi (Achilles), Raihan Rahman (ACL).
Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic also said front man Keegan Linderboom is a doubt and will almost certainly not start.
04/04/18: Home 3-1 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
20/10/17: Home 2-0 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
03/07/17: Balestier 1-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
02/05/17: Home 1-0 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
15/10/16: Balestier 0-5 Home – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Noor Akid Nordin – Balestier
Last year, Balestier looked bereft of ideas going forward and their inability to score was perhaps what hurt them the most. But they appear to have solved that conundrum after finding the back of the net in six of their last eight games and tricky winger Akid has played a big part.
Willing to take on his markers and make the darting runs that were sorely lacking last season, he was a menace against DPMM and will be looking to add to his goal tally against Home.
Shahril Ishak – Home
It is hard to argue who the more dangerous of the two players between Shahril Ishak and Song Ui-Young right now, given the form they are in.
Both players have been in free-scoring mood for the Protectors, but all eyes should be on Shahril for his sheer experience. The veteran forward may have lost the pace he had when he was younger, but he is timing his runs to perfection and making the correct decisions in the final third.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Balestier Head Coach Kraljevic: “There is a lot of confidence now at Home, but we are going there to win the game. We don’t think about Home United, we think about ourselves. If we give a good performance, we can draw or even win the game.
“Also, it is not every day that there will be sunshine, some days it will rain, but Shahril is in top form now. I have not seen him scoring like this in a long time and we have to be very careful. We are working hard to stop these two – him and Song (Ui-young).”
Home forward Shahril: “The morale is very good. Even before the game, our morale has been very good. Fatigue is not an excuse for us to prepare for the next game. The boys are focused on recovery as of now. It’s not easy playing in the AFC Cup and to play our league game four days later. The intensity of an AFC Cup game is so a lot higher than a SPL game, so recovery will be key before we head into our next match.”
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