Singapore Premier League • May 3, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Home, Warriors set for thrilling Uniformed Derby clash
Hafiz Nor has been making an impact for Home United FC in recent matches.
SINGAPORE, 3 MAY 2018 – After letting slip two-goal leads in their previous games, Home United FC and Warriors FC will have a point to prove when they lock horns in the first Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) Uniformed Derby on Saturday evening, 5 May at Bishan Stadium. The match will kick off at 5.30pm.
BACKGROUND As the saying goes, a two-goal lead is a dangerous one in football and so it proved in two out of the three SPL midweek fixtures.
Home were looking good for the three points after going 3-1 up midway through the second half, but Hougang United FC struck twice in the final 20 minutes to salvage an unlikely draw.
It was a similar storyline for the Warriors as they raced to a 2-0 lead after just eight minutes, but Brunei DPMM FC struck once in each half to salvage a share of the spoils.
That set things up nicely for the SPL’s first Uniformed Derby as the two sides, licking their wounds, meet at Bishan Stadium for the first time since August 2016. That night, the Protectors strolled to a 3-0 victory courtesy of a Ken Ilso brace and a Song Ui-young strike in Aidil Sharin’s first game in charge.
Currently in fifth and eight points adrift of leaders Albirex Niigata FC (S), Home need a win to stay within catching distance. However, with an important AFC Cup Zonal semi-final first leg coming up against Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta in three days’ time, Aidil is likely to rest a few key players.
The likes of Hafiz Nor, Christopher Van Huizen and Arshad Shamim may well feature against the Warriors, as they look to bounce back from the disappointing result against Hougang.
“That result felt like a loss to us because we lost concentration in the dying minutes of the game,” utility man Fazli Ayob said. “To win games, we need to maintain our level of performance from the first minute till the final minute.
“Warriors have a lot of talented attacking players, so it will be good if we can redeem ourselves by winning the game and getting a clean sheet. A good result against our arch-rivals will undoubtedly give us the confidence to face Persija.”
As for Mirko Grabovac’s Warriors, they are stuck in seventh with four points and are still searching for their first win after six matches. In three of those, they led at half time only to be pegged back by an equaliser after the break – something they have to quickly remedy.
“That’s been the story of our season – throwing away two points when we’re supposed to win,” commented defender Delwinder Singh. “Definitely, we need to make our chances upfront count and cut out those silly errors at the back from now on.
“Home is a good side with many good players, but we’ve been improving and we will surely give them a good fight in this Uniformed Derby.”
Based on the history books, we are likely to see goals in this one – one has to go back all the way to November 2010 for the last goalless draw between both sides, which was 24 matches ago.
TEAM NEWS Defenders Sirina Camara and Abdil Qaiyyim remain on the treatment table for Home, while Shakir Hamzah is unlikely to play a part due to a hamstring injury. Fazli is likely to deputise at left-back for the Protectors.
In the Warriors camp, defender Ismadi Mukhtar serves the second of a two-match suspension while forward Khairul Nizam is not expected to be fit until June.
Club captain Kento Fukuda is also likely to be out for a few weeks after hurting his hamstring the last time out, but Emmeric Ong is back from suspension and may well wear the Warriors armband.
27/10/17: Warriors 2-1 Home – Singapore Premier League
25/07/17: Home 1-1 Warriors – League Cup
07/07/17: Warriors 4-3 Home – Singapore Premier League
22/04/17: Warriors 2-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
04/08/16: Home 3-0 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Hafiz Nor – Home
The pint-sized winger to starting to make an impact in his second spell with the Protectors, scoring two goals in the 4-1 win over Geylang International FC before making an immediate impact as a sub against Hougang to set up Shahril for the team’s third goal of the night. The 29-year-old’s searing pace and crossing ability will be a real threat to the Warriors’ backline.
Poh Yi Feng – Warriors
It has been so far, so good personally for Poh, who has started five out of six Warriors games this season and already exceeded his minutes on the pitch last year. The combative 31-year-old midfielder showed that he has a keen eye for the pass as well, with a superb through ball for Sahil Suhaimi to score against DPMM.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Home midfielder Fazli: “I enjoy contributing to the team, be it playing as a wing-back or as a central midfielder. It’s time for me to step up to take Camara and Shakir’s role while they’re out. Of course, it’ll be good if I can keep that spot for myself. Given the tight schedule in May, I hope I can stay injury-free and help the team as much as possible.”
Warriors defender Delwinder: “It’s sad that Kento is injured because I’ve learnt a lot from playing alongside him (in central defence) and I hope he’ll be back with the team soon. Results are important and we really want to change our current situation. We’ve been working really hard for these past few months and I hope our efforts will pay off with a first win this Saturday.”
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