Singapore Premier League • April 26, 2018

Singapore Premier League Preview: No letting up for leaders Albirex as Geylang come visiting


Shuhei Hoshino will be looking to add to his tally of three league goals.

SINGAPORE, 26 APRIL 2018Albirex Niigata FC (S) will entertain Geylang International FC in a top-versus-bottom clash in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) at Jurong East Stadium on Saturday evening, 28 April. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

BACKGROUND SPL leaders Albirex will be gunning for a sixth straight win against Geylang in all competitions as they look to pile more misery on their beleaguered opponents on Saturday.

Their last defeat to the Bedok-based side came in a 1-0 reverse in the League Cup in July 2016 and since then, the White Swans have scored 18 goals while conceding just two in their last five encounters.

This season, Albirex have showcased a brand of football to thrill the crowds and remain the only side with a 100 per cent record, five points clear of Tampines Rovers FC at the top.

They go into this match following an impressive 6-1 victory over Home United FC slightly over a week ago but skipper Wataru Murofushi is demanding more from his teammates.

“I’m not exactly pleased with the team’s performances so far,” he said. “Result-wise, of course, it’s good (that we have won four matches) but we still have to work on improving our play – both individually and together as a team.”

Meanwhile, Geylang are rooted to the foot of the table with just one point from five matches. They are reeling from consecutive 4-1 losses to Brunei DPMM FC and Home, and key forward Shawal Anuar is keen for his side to learn from their past mistakes.

“We must be more alert from the first whistle and stay focused throughout the 90 minutes;  we cannot afford to concede early goals,” noted the Singapore international, who turns 27 on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a tough match, no doubt about that… But we will definitely put in the hard work (required) and do our very best to get something out of this game.”

TEAM NEWS Albirex defender Shun Kumagai remains sidelined due to a knee problem, while Geylang will continue to be without Anders Aplin, who is out due to a groin strain.

Albirex: WWWWW
Geylang: DLLLL

Geylang 2-7 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
Albirex 5-0 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
Albirex 4-0 Geylang – League Cup
Geylang 0-1 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
Albirex 1-0 Geylang – Singapore Premier League

Shuhei Hoshino –  Albirex
Taking over the no. 9 shirt from 2017 top scorer Tsubasa Sano, he has shown signs that he could well emulate the achievements of his predecessor, having struck three goals in four matches so far.

The burly forward’s physical presence, coupled with good link-up play, means the Geylang defence will have to keep a tight leash on him in order to prevent Albirex from running riot.

Yuki Ichikawa – Geylang
One of the shining lights in an otherwise woeful Geylang side this term, the lanky Japanese defender is the epitome of consistency. Dangerous in aerial situations, Ichikawa is not only solid at the back but can also be pushed up as an emergency forward when needed.

Albirex Captain Murofushi: “As team captain, I do not need to say anything (much to them) because everyone understands for sure that it will not be an easy game. Geylang might not have beaten us in their five matches but we still have to give our all for the upcoming match.”

Geylang forward Shawal: “We are not going to give up without a fight… Yes, we will go into this tie as underdogs but we still have the faith in each other (to bounce back). I believe that we can do so, as long as we work as a team and improve from our previous games.”

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