News Singapore Premier League • August 13, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Warriors determined to derail Tampines, says Emmeric Ong
Emmeric Ong has been a mainstay in the Warriors FC line-up.
SINGAPORE, 13 AUG 2018 – Warriors FC will look to make it four wins on the trot and put a dent in Tampines Rovers FC’s hopes of finishing second in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) on Wednesday, 15 August at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
BACKGROUND It has been an inconsistent season for Warriors so far by and large, with the nine-time champions registering six wins, six draws and seven losses in 19 games this year, although those six victories have come in their last nine matches.
One bright spark for the Warriors this year, however, is full-back Emmeric Ong. While not the most flashy player on the pitch, Ong has slowly become indispensable in the Warriors starting line-up in his fourth season with the club. He has only missed one league game and started all 18 of his matches, completing the full 90 minutes on all occasions bar one.
With just five games left, the 27-year-old is aiming to prove that he is deserving of a spot in Fandi Ahmad’s Singapore squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup at the end of the year.
“Personally, I’ve always aimed to give my best in every match,” he said. “With this added incentive of playing for the nation… I hope I have done enough over the course of the season to prove to Coach Fandi that I’ll be a useful addition to the to the squad, be it in the starting line-up or not.”
Another reason to finish the season strong is also for Warriors to build a foundation for next season, when they can perhaps mount a title challenge instead of fighting for a mid-table spot, he added.
“Certainly, the first round wasn’t a reflection of our team’s strength and we’ve proved that we are more than capable of matching the best teams in the league in the subsequent rounds,” Ong said.
He also warned that the Warriors will do their best to disrupt Tampines’ plans for a second-place finish and qualification for continental competition on Wednesday night.
Already, Warriors have defeated Tampines once in June, while the first meeting between both sides ended in a 0-0 draw. The last time Warriors ended a season unbeaten against the Stags was in 2015.
“Fixtures hardly come as big as Tampines vs Warriors in a local context and to go a season unbeaten against them is some consolation,” Ong said. “So, expect us to put up a fight on Wednesday night.”
Warriors will have Khairul Nizam back from suspension and midfielder Ho Wai Loon has also recovered from his injury after missing their last match. However, Nur Luqman and Daniel Shafiq are set to miss out, while captain Kento Fukuda is a doubt for the game.
Tampines will have everyone available apart from long-term absentees Shannon Stephen and Safirul Sulaiman, who are out for the rest of the season due to anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
17/06/18: Tampines 2-3 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
12/04/18: Warriors 0-0 Tampines – Singapore Premier League
20/09/17: Tampines 1-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
22/06/17: Warriors 0-1 Tampines – Singapore Premier League
01/04/17: Tampines 0-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Jonathan Behe – Warriors
The striker has scored in five of Warriors’ six victories – a clear sign that whenever Behe does well, Warriors are more likely to win. Having already netted a hat-trick earlier in June’s win over Tampines, Behe will be looking at the game as another opportunity to catch Albirex Niigata FC (S)’s Shuhei Hoshino in the race for the top-scorer award.
Khairul Amri – Tampines
The striker’s 13-goal league haul is the most by any local player since 2015, when Fazrul Nawaz netted 18 times for Warriors. This season is also just the third time Amri has scored in double digits in his career, and it is also his most prolific to date.
Amri is without a doubt the main threat for Tampines this year, and Warriors will have to keep an eye out for him throughout the 90 minutes.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Warriors defender Ong: “Of course, we’ll like to finish the season with as many points as possible and show that we can carry our recent good form into the next season.”
Tampines Head Coach Juergen Raab: “(Finishing second) is our target after Albirex have won the league, which was clear that nobody has a chance to keep up with them. We only have four matches more… we have a gap (over Home United FC and Brunei DPMM FC), we have the better goal difference, it’s up to us. If we bring this performance (the win against Hougang) and if we stay calm for the rest of the season, I think we have the quality for the second place. It would be, I must say, a success.”