Singapore Premier League • June 25, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Home eye crucial win at Tampines
Ryutaro Megumi is Tampines Rovers FC’s dangerman.
SINGAPORE, 25 JUNE 2018 – Tampines Rovers FC and Home United FC face off at Our Tampines Hub (OTH) on Tuesday night, 26 June in what should be a crucial six-pointer to decide who finishes second at the end of this Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) season. The match will kick off at 7.45pm.
BACKGROUND With the Albirex Niigata FC (S) Express showing no signs of stopping as they pull 17 points clear at the top, the focus turns to the race for second spot.
That now looks like a straight fight between Tampines and Home, with the former in the driving seat with 22 points from 11 matches while the latter are four points behind and have played a game more.
On paper, both sides have the quality to be pushing Albirex for the title. However, they simply lack the consistency to edge nearer to the table-toppers.
After a four-match winning streak, Tampines were brought back down to earth with a shock 3-2 home defeat against Warriors FC a little over a week ago.
Meanwhile, Home needed a last-gasp equaliser from Iqram Rifqi to salvage a 1-1 draw with struggling Young Lions over the weekend after notching three wins in their previous four matches.
Both coaches Juergen Raab and Aidil Sharin will be looking for a positive response from their respective charges as they face off in this rescheduled game, which was postponed due to Home’s AFC Cup commitments earlier in the year.
Home have yet to win in their last four away games, including two at the National Stadium. However, they will sniff a chance against a fragile Tampines side that has lost two out of their last three games at OTH after going their first nine league games there unbeaten.
But the Protectors will also have to contend with a crippling injury list that contains several key players, while also having to deal with fatigue as they play their second game in four days.
The big news is that Home’s talismanic South Korea attacker Song Ui-Young will miss this due to a pulled hamstring in training the day before the Young Lions game.
They are already without Sirina Camara and Juma’at Jantan for the rest of the season due to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, while Fazli Ayob and Christopher Van Huizen are still not fit enough for action.
Tampines are not without their problems, with Shannon Stephen and Safirul Sulaiman also out due to ACL problems, though Hafiz Sujad could make his debut after being registered during the recently opened transfer window.
Irfan Najeeb has recovered from his ankle injury though and could find himself on the bench on match day.
18/11/17: Tampines 0-0 Home – Singapore Premier League
23/10/17: Home 0-2 Tampines – Singapore Premier League
12/05/17: Tampines 3-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
10/09/16: Home 1-0 Tampines – Singapore Premier League
13/05/16: Tampines 1-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Ryutaro Megumi – Tampines
With four goals and as many assists in the SPL this season, Megumi is the main attacking outlet for the Stags. Possessing the pace and trickery to trouble any defender in the league, the 24-year-old Japanese winger will relish playing against a Home back-line that has kept just one shutout in 12 league matches.
Shahril Ishak – Home
With 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions, Shahril is enjoying his second spell with the Protectors and has proved that age is no barrier at this level. Without strike partner Song, the onus is on the 34-year-old to link up with the rest and produce the goods in front of goal.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Tampines forward Khairul Amri: It’s a long wait for me (having to come off the bench for the past four games after returning from a two-match ban), but I’m not frustrated. Me and Fazrul (Nawaz) are professionals and we know our roles well.
“It’s very important for us to put up a winning streak at home because that’s where we have the advantage to take three points. The crowd at OTH has been excellent, but I hope more and more people come down to support us. We have to consolidate our position on the table and we definitely need to take our chances against Home because it’s a game that can go either way.”
Home Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “Looking at our schedule, it’s not easy as we’re really short of players. Tampines had an off day over the weekend, but we played against the Young Lions. We have a lot of injured players, but we have to manage what is available to us.
“This is football, anything can happen and we definitely want to forget about the game against Young Lions. It’s a good wake-up call for the boys and I hope we can do much better against Tampines.”