News Singapore Premier League • July 12, 2018

Singapore Premier League Preview: Fading Young Lions target revival against Hougang


Young Lions midfielder Rusyaidi Salime has grown in stature this season.

SINGAPORE, 12 JULY 2018It will be a Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) bottom-of-table clash on Saturday, 14 July when Young Lions host Hougang United FC at Jalan Besar Stadium. Kick off is at 5.30pm.

BACKGROUND The Young Lions were in encouraging form at the start of the season, losing only twice in their first eight games.

But it would prove to be a false dawn, as they lost six of their next seven games to plummet down the table and are currently six points away from bottom-placed Hougang.

That gap could be further reduced this Saturday if the Young Lions are not careful. Hougang finished last season in sixth place and the squad is in disbelief at the current position they find themselves in.

“To us, our current place in the league can be seen as something unfortunate,” Hougang forward Fareez Farhan said. “We have been playing well from the start but we do not have the luck to convert those chances.

“Overall there is a lot of positivity and I don’t think the results do us much justice. It is really more down to luck; we have the quality, both at the back and in front.

Hougang will be kicking themselves ahead of this game, as they were downed by a last-gasp goal by Brunei DPMM FC forward Shah Razen Said in Brunei in their last outing, having come back twice to equalise.

They will be keen to return to winning ways against the hosts, who lost their last game 2-0 to Home United FC.

The squad has been decimated by injuries and suspensions of late and that makes the task of beating Hougang for a third successive time this season a tough ask for Head Coach Fandi Ahmad.

Hougang have a clean bill of health with no injuries or suspensions to worry about.

On the other hand, the Young Lions missed at least 10 players in their last game and were only able to name five substitutes instead of the seven allowed.

Among the notable absentees were Ikhsan Fandi and Irfan Fandi, who may continue to be unavailable. Centre-back Adam Hakeem will be suspended, but goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad and defender R. Aaravin will return from suspension.

Young Lions: LLDLL
Hougang: WDLLL

19/05/18: Hougang 1-2 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
04/04/18: Young Lions 2-0 Hougang – Singapore Premier League
24/10/17: Young Lions 0-1 Hougang – Singapore Premier League
15/09/17: Hougang 2-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
11/03/17: Hougang 2-0 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League

Rusyaidi Salime – Young Lions
The 20-year-old has shown plenty of promise over the last few seasons and has grown in stature this year.

He times his runs forward well and is able to get into the dangerous places to pull the trigger or look for a teammate, making him a key figure for the team and someone for Hougang to shackle closely.

Fareez Farhan – Hougang
The forward has not played as well he would have liked, having only scored two goals in the 2018 campaign.

But he is a pacey forward blessed with technical abilities and his confidence will be boosted, having struck a stunning 35-yard free-kick goal against DPMM on Wednesday.

Young Lions defender R. Aaravin:
“I would say that yes to a certain extent our squad is depleted and we haven’t had the best results of late.

“Despite being at the bottom, Hougang have a fantastic pool of players and it won’t be easy but we are ready for the challenge. Hougang have found their footing and it’ll not be an easy walkover. It’ll definitely be a tough game but we still want maximum points.

“Definitely, it has been a frustrating run of matches where we had decent performances. So if I get the opportunity to play I’ll definitely do my best to help the team in every possible way to get the win.”

Hougang forward Fareez: “Of course it was demoralising to concede so late against Brunei DPMM. We could have won the game, we controlled possession but luck just wasn’t on our side. We converted the chances we got, but we are so unlucky to concede so late.

“Playing against Young Lions, it’s the best chance for us to win a game. I played for Young Lions before so I know the team is full of speed because they are young and eager to win games. They have that little bit of fire, which is important to have in a footballer.

“But we have to pick up the three points. It is always bad to underestimate your opponents… We have to be full of desire and it doesn’t matter who the opponents are, we just need to get three points.”

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