News Singapore Premier League • June 22, 2018

Singapore Premier League Preview: No easy task for Young Lions against injury-hit Home


The Young Lions have gone 10 matches without a clean sheet.

SINGAPORE, 22 JUNE 2018Home United FC cruised past the Young Lions 4-1 the last time they met and the latter will be hoping to avoid a repeat this Saturday evening, 23 June at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

BACKGROUND The Young Lions have struggled of late in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL), failing to register a single win in their last six games and will be coming into this game on the back of four straight losses, including the recent 2-0 defeat by Balestier Khalsa FC.

Home contributed to this dismal run, inflicting upon the national youth developmental side a 4-1 beating at Bishan Stadium just over two weeks ago.

The Protectors will certainly be gunning for the same this time round,as they look to heap the pressure on Tampines Rovers FC, who are three points ahead in second spot.

Home have a remarkable statistic of registering at least a two-goal winning margin in their five league wins so far. In fact, Home’s 2-0 victory over Geylang International FC in their last match was the first time this season they failed to score more than two goals in a winning fixture.

With a healthy record of 26 goals in 11 games to date, second only to Albirex Niigata (S) FC’s 39-goal tally, there is no reason why Home will not be confident of a comfortable win.

The Young Lions will be mindful of their own alarming form, since they have now gone 10 games without a clean sheet.

A large majority of the Young Lions squad played in an international friendly on Wednesday against Myanmar Under-23s and Fandi will have to assess his players’ fitness.

Ikhsan Fandi missed the match due to injury and his involvement against Home remains to be seen. Joshua Pereira is also suspended for this tie.

Home’s defenders Sirina Camara and Juma’at Jantan are out for the season, while Christopher van Huizen and Fazli Ayob are nursing short-term injuries. Song Ui-young was rested for the last game and should be fit for a return to the starting eleven.

Aidil Sharin will have to reshuffle his back four as defensive lynchpin Shakir Hamzah is out through suspension.

Young Lions: DLLLL

06/06/18: Home 4-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
31/10/17: Home 4-0 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
21/05/17: Young Lions 1-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
27/02/17: Home 6-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
30/09/16: Home 5-2 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League

Taufiq Muqminin – Young Lions
Partnered alongside Irfan Fandi in defence, Taufiq has been putting in encouraging displays of late. He is not afraid to get stuck in and has the physique needed to win challenges in the air or on the ground.

Hafiz Nor – Home
Despite being used sparingly, Hafiz is still making an impact on the field – he has four goals in his pocket to go along with his five assists.

Young Lions Head Coach Fandi Ahmad:
“Home are a strong team and we have to be more disciplined in defending and clever in attack, and we must take our chances when they come. More importantly, the players must be more focused and give 100 per cent effort to get a point. We must start believing (in ourselves) like (we did) when we started (well in the season). We were targeting 15 points in the first round but it did not happen.

“So far, I’m quite happy with our commitment and have been very happy to see some players improving and we were getting some good results at the start of our campaign. On record, we have three wins and three draws, it is much better than the previous years given that we play with only local players and most of them are part-timers. I just hope we can get better… as it is good exposure for our future plans.”

Home forward Hafiz: “As I’m given lesser time, I aim to impress Coach every time I play, so I can gain my spot in the starting eleven. Home United is a big club, you have got to work hard every day to make sure that you’re up to standard. It’s a new game, new approach from the coach and the team. We have to stay focused during the entire game.

“As we have seen, Young Lions are capable of upsetting any team, so we have to stay focused and be ready for this game. With several key players out, senior players need to step up to aid the team in these difficult times that we are facing. At the end of the day, it’s for us to climb up higher in the league.”

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