News Singapore Premier League • July 20, 2018

Singapore Premier League Preview: Warriors aim to overcome bogey foe Young Lions


Sahil Suhaimi could be one to watch for the Warriors.

SINGAPORE, 20 JULY 2018Having not won any of the last four head-to-head encounters, Warriors FC will be looking to get one over Young Lions at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Sunday evening, 22 July. The Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) match will kick off at 5.30pm.

BACKGROUND For one reason or another, the Young Lions have been a bogey team for Warriors FC in recent years, being undefeated in the last four meetings with the nine-time champions.

A 1-0 win at Choa Chu Kang Stadium this April was followed by a 1-1 draw at Jalan Besar Stadium a month later.

Last season, the Young Lions held them to a 0-0 home draw in June before prevailing 1-0 at the Warriors den four months later for their only win of the campaign.

The Warriors’ last win in this fixture came in April 2017. Even then, they were given a mighty scare by the Young Lions as they trailed 3-1 before scoring three goals in the final eight minutes to cap a stunning comeback.

Dating back to 2016, the Young Lions only won two games all season but one of those came against the Warriors in a 3-1 victory at home.

Midfielder Hami Syahin chose to play down their good record though, as the Young Lions target another three points in their quest to finish in the top five.

Fandi Ahmad’s boys trail fifth-placed Warriors by two points, with seven games left to go.

“We simply played to the coaches’ instructions and we will always go out there to try and get maximum points,” the 19-year-old said. “Warriors have picked up their form lately but we will still fight till the final whistle to get a result again.

“I believe achieving a top-five finish is a realistic target, if we focus and give our all for the remaining games. With the momentum we have now, I believe we can do it.”

Meanwhile Warriors utility man Shamil Sharif is hoping that third time’s the charm for his side.

“I think we were unlucky (not to win) in the previous two meetings this season where we didn’t convert our chances,” said the 26-year-old, who has been deployed at left back in recent games.

“We just need to play to our strengths and take our chances to get a win over this Young Lions team. It’s important for us to collect maximum points in Round 3 to stay as close as we can to the top teams.”

The Warriors will continue to miss Ignatius Ang due to an ankle injury, while fellow attacker Khairul Nizam will serve the first of a two-game suspension for his explusion in last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Geylang International FC.

As for the Young Lions, they remain depleted with Captain Taufiq Muqminin out for the rest of the season while centre-back partner Irfan Fandi is still away in Europe for trials. Adam Hakeem and Ifwat Ismail are also doubtful after missing the midweek 5-1 loss to Albirex Niigata FC (S).

Main forward Ikhsan Fandi came off the bench for the last two games though and could finally get a start this time.

Warriors: WLLLW
Young Lions: DLLWL

26/05/18: Young Lions 1-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
08/04/18: Warriors 0-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
14/10/17: Warriors 0-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
28/06/17: Young Lions 0-0 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
08/04/17: Warriors 4-3 Young Lions– Singapore Premier League

Sahil Suhaimi – Warriors
An encouraging display on the left flank against Geylang the last time out should have done enough to keep Sahil in the starting eleven. The 26-year-old’s ability to cut in and shoot should cause much problems for a weakened Young Lions defence.

Jacob Mahler – Young Lions
A midfielder by trade, Mahler was thrown into the heart of defence and has since impressed in this new role. The 18-year-old will need to be on top of his game to stop Warriors’ free-scoring French forward Jonathan Behe.

Warriors midfielder Shamil:
“It’s vital that we beat Geylang last week (to stop a three-match losing streak). I believe everyone in the team we want end the season on a high, so we have to try to finish as high as we can in the league and go all the way to the Singapore Cup final. That will constitute a good season for the club.”

Young Lions midfielder Hami: “I’m very thankful to have scored two goals in the last two games and it’s all down to my teammates for making it happen. We fought well against Hougang United FC (to win 3-0) last Saturday, but we were disappointed not to get at least a point against Albirex on Wednesday.

“I’m pleased to be playing in the no. 10 role now because it’s one which I’ve been doing since my time in the National Football Academy (now FAS Football Academy) under Coach Nazri (Nasir). It’s my favourite position because I love getting the ball higher up the pitch and try to make defence-splitting passes.”

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