News Singapore Premier League • August 14, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Young Lions target first ever win against DPMM
Ikhsan Fandi is Young Lions’ top scorer with six goals.
SINGAPORE, 14 AUG 2018 – The Young Lions will be looking to push on in their remaining four Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) matches and secure their best finish to a season in ten years, starting with Brunei DPMM FC on Wednesday, 15 August. Kick off is at 7.45pm at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
BACKGROUND It’s been sort of a fun year for the Young Lions, who have defied all expectations to register 19 points this year. Sure, the team could have been in a better position given the superb start to the season they had but as with all young teams, inconsistency is to be expected.
Incredibly, the Young Lions are still in with a shout of securing fifth spot, which Warriors FC currently occupy and that represents a stark improvement from 2017, when they finished bottom of the table with just a solitary win.
Much of the plaudits has to go to Head Coach Fandi Ahmad, who seems to have worked his magic once more after previously guiding the Young Lions to two third-place finishes in 2004 and 2006.
Having his two older sons – Irfan and Ikhsan – with him in the team has helped too. After all, the duo, together with midfielder Hami Syahin, has been integral to the team. Tasked to lead the team, Irfan has blossomed this year and it is without a doubt that Young Lions are a much stronger team when the centre-back is in the side, while Ikhsan has impressed in his second full season by netting six times in 13 outings.
Wednesday match against DPMM – who are chasing second spot – may well be the brothers’ last game of the year in the SPL though. Both have been invited for a trial with Portuguese club Braga and are slated to leave after the game against DPMM.
That could possibly provide the brothers with all the motivation they need, and a win against the Bruneian side will definitely give them a deserving send off in what has been the most exciting Young Lions season in recent years.
The Young Lions have already proved they can match the Bruenians, having came close to a securing three points in their first meeting of the season, which ended 1-1. In that game, it was Ikhsan who struck a wonderful goal to give the team the lead, only for Adi Said to peg them back late on.
Victory against Rene Weber’s side will also be their first ever, having not beaten DPMM in all 17 of their previous encounters in a run that stretches back to 2012.
The Young Lions missed both Amer and Adam Hakeem in their weekend game against Balestier, and it is doubtful they can return to the side in time. Taufiq Muqminin continues to be sidelined as well.
Brunei DPMM’s Mojtaba Mollasaraei is a doubt for this game too, after he missed the weekend 2-2 draw against Geylang International FC.
Young Lions: LWLLW
23/05/18: Young Lions 1-1 DPMM – Singapore Premier League
18/07/18: Young Lions 1-2 DPMM – Singapore Premier League
07/07/17: DPMM 7-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
13/07/17: Young Lions 0-0 DPMM – Singapore Premier League
26/06/17: DPMM 5-3 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Ikhsan Fandi – Young Lions
The striker has already scored against DPMM once this season and has been the most threatening player in the attacking end for the Young Lions. Capable of finding the target from range or with predatory strikes, what makes Ikhsan so dangerous is his constant movement with or without the ball.
Adi Said – DPMM
The DPMM forward has been in such immaculate form that he has outshone not just his older brother Shah Razen, but also foreign striker Volodymyr Priyomov as the best player on the team. Equally good at finding the net or setting up his teammates, the 28-year-old has ten goals and nine assists and is one assist away from being the first player to hit double digits for both in the league.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Young Lions defender Irfan: “This may be my last game but I will always give my best for the team no matter who we are facing. They are a strong team but we have the desire and tomorrow we will fight until the last minute.
“I feel this season was a very tough one for me as I had to guide the younger players but the players have taken it well and you can see now that they are more disciplined in matches. And this season has to be one of the better seasons for Young Lions and I’m very proud of what the boys have done.
“If we work hard and play hard, God will take care of the rest. Where we end up finishing in the league, for me, does not matter but the reputation of Young Lions is what matters. This year has been a great year compared to others.”
DPMM Head Coach Weber: “The game against Young Lions will be difficult. They have a young and strong team but I’m hoping we can do well and win on Wednesday.
“I think we are the team who have not taken our chances to score. Every game we waste at least two or three chances and we cannot do that tomorrow if we want to win.
“Our goal was to finish in the top four, and now we want to achieve more by trying to earn a spot in the top three.”
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