News Singapore Premier League • September 28, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Tampines and Home to slug it out for Champions League slot
Song Ui-young has been in sensational form of late for Home.
SINGAPORE, 28 SEP 2018 – Home United FC know victory against Tampines Rovers FC will seal second place in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) on Saturday, 29 September at Our Tampines Hub. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.
BACKGROUND Tampines’ defeat to Brunei DPMM FC in their previous league fixture, coupled with Home’s derby victory over Warriors FC, blew the race for second place wide open.
The Protectors currently hold the upper hand as they occupy that spot on 42 points, three ahead of the Stags and five ahead of fourth-placed DPMM. Win, and Aidil Sharin’s side will earn their best finish in five years – regardless of the result between Balestier Khalsa FC and DPMM on the same night.
But DPMM have two games left and will still have a chance of finishing as high as second if Home do not beat Tampines, depending on their result against Balestier and against Young Lions on 9 October.
At stake for Home and Tampines is a spot in the AFC Champions League (ACL) preliminary rounds – the highest-placed local team will be Singapore’s representatives in the competition next year.
Tampines have key duo Yasir Hanapi and Fahrudin Mustafic suspended after being sent off against DPMM. For Home, they come into the game with just two days of rest after their 3-2 defeat to Albirex Niigata FC (S) in their first-leg Singapore Cup semi-final clash.
Stags attacker Zulfadhmi Suzliman lamented the loss of both but believes that the team will be able to cope.
“Of course it’s a big loss as they both are our main players,” the Singapore international said. “But we still have other players that are capable of replacing them so we have nothing to worry about. We’ve also played games without them.
“We’ve been preparing really hard for Saturday to get the second place. With what we showed during training for this week, I think we are all ready to get the three points.”
On the other hand, Home captain Izzdin Shafiq insisted they are not thinking about the second leg next Wednesday.
“Right now, we are driven to do well against Tampines,” he declared. “The primary objective is to recover really well before taking on Tampines on Saturday.”
“We need to stay focused and compact as a unit. When we work together as a unit, it’s difficult to break us down. We need to put our loss against Albirex behind and restart again.. It’s the last league game of the season, we must give it our best shot.”
Tampines will miss the suspended Yasir and Mustafic. They should have everyone else available though.
The only unavailable player for Home is goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah, with Kenji Rusydi expected to continue deputising for him. Song Ui-young should return to the team after being rested in the Singapore Cup.
19/08/18: Tampines 1-3 Home – Singapore Cup
27/07/18: Home 1-2 Tampines – Singapore Cup
08/07/18: Home 0-0 Tampines – Singapore Premier League
26/06/18: Tampines 1-0 Home – Singapore Premier League
18/11/17: Tampines 0-0 Home – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Khairul Amri – Tampines
The Singapore international scored twice over both legs of the Singapore Cup first-round exit against Home and is undoubtedly the biggest goal threat for Tampines. With 14 league goals, Amri is also the current top local scorer as well.
Song Ui-young – Home
The South Korean netted a hat-trick against Warriors in their last game and was rested by Aidil against Albirex, perhaps with an eye on the final league game of the season. Song has been brilliant this season and there will be no better way for him to cap it off with yet another showing against Tampines.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Tampines winger Zulfadhmi: “I think with Home playing in the Singapore Cup, it gives us a little advantage because they have less time to recover and prepare for the game.
“We gave our best during the whole season and we will continue to do our very best this Saturday and fight for the second spot.”
Home midfielder Izzdin: “Of course, all of us want to win! It’s a step forward for us because we finished third last year. We will want to play in the ACL qualifiers, it’s a more significant challenge for us, but we want it really badly. I’m incredibly proud of my team this year, so we must give our everything in this final league game of the season.
“As a captain, I always encourage my teammates to give their all in their game. We are representing Home United, we need to do well for our fans and the club.”