News Singapore Premier League • July 4, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Home eager to taste Uniformed Derby success over Warriors again
Ignatius Ang has scored once in each of his last two games for Warriors FC.
SINGAPORE, 4 JULY 2018 – Warriors FC are looking to bounce back immediately on Wednesday in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) when they host Home United FC at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Wednesday, 4 July. The match starts at 7.45pm.
BACKGROUND Warriors will look to close the gap on Home in the league table when the latter come calling in the second Uniformed Derby of the season.
Defeat in Brunei on Saturday ended the Warriors’ streak of three straight wins and with Home registering a victory over Hougang on the following day, the gap between both teams in the league table was widened to six points. Home are currently third in the table with 21 points, while Warriors are fifth with 15 points.
Warriors midfielder Poh Yi Feng described the defeat as “disappointing” and added that it left his side with no choice but to get a result tonight as they try to continue climbing up the table.
“It’s (going to be) like a final for us as we cannot afford to lose or even draw anymore; the gap is already six points with half of the season gone,” he said.
“We must forget our defeat against DPMM quickly and focus on the upcoming match. It is a good chance for us to close the gap if we managed to beat Home and we will be extra motivated to work hard to achieve that.”
The first meeting between both teams this year in May ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw and extended the Warriors’ undefeated run in derby meetings to five games.
“It will give us extra confidence going into the match knowing that we haven’t lost to them for the past five matches,” he said.
“However, past records doesn’t mean anything when we head out onto the pitch. The chance for us to close the gap and fight for the top three spots (in the table) will be our motivation instead.”
On paper, it does appear that Warriors will have the advantage, given that Wednesday’s match will be Home’s third in eight days.
But Home defender Abdil Qaiyyim believes that fatigue will not be a factor.
“We have been in this situation before in the earlier part of the season,” the centre-back said. “Coach Aidil (Sharin) has plans for this. For us players, we have to look after ourselves.”
The 29-year-old added that his club’s win-less run against Warriors will not play on their minds when they take to the pitch.
“To me, statistics are just statistics. People might say that the numbers don’t lie but before this, in 2015, we lost once 4-1 and then we were unbeaten all the way until 2017,” Abdil said.
“If they can overturn it, we can too. Plus, it’s an Uniformed Derby – anything can happen.”
Khairul Nizam is recovering well from his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, but a Warriors debut against his former club will be highly unlikely. Head Coach Mirko Grabovac will have everyone else available for selection.
On the other hand, Home will miss the services of at least three players. Sirina Camara and Juma’at Jantan are out for the rest of the season due to ACL injuries, while South Korean attack Song Ui-young will continue to sit out with a hamstring injury. Fazli Ayob remains a doubt as well.
The good news for Home is that Christopher van Huizen recovered in time to make a substitute appearance against Hougang on Sunday and will be available for selection against Warriors.
05/05/18: Home 3-3 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
27/10/17: Warriors 2-1 Home – Singapore Premier League
25/07/17: Home 1-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
07/07/17: Warriors 4-3 Home – League Cup
22/04/17: Warriors 2-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Ignatius Ang – Warriors
The midfielder has scored twice in two games since his return to the first team and has provided Warriors, who have been relying on Jonathan Behe to get the goals, with a timely boost. A creative player with a sweet left foot, Ang has the capability to unlock any defence and Warriors will be banking on him to continue his scoring run.
Shahril Ishak – Home
With six goals and five assists in the league, Shahril has shown that he is still one of the top local players despite his age. With Song out, Home will need the veteran to shoulder on more responsibility – be it via scoring or setting up his teammates, both of which he is fully capable of.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Warriors midfielder Poh: “A few of their individual players like Shahril Ishak, Hafiz Nor and Izzdin Shafiq can change a game on their own and we will have to cope with that – we have a tactically strong coach and he will know how to stop Home.”
Home defender Abdil: “It is always important for us to go out and win. We have dropped too many points and we have to start picking up every point that comes our way.”
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