News • July 26, 2016

The New Paper League Cup 2016: White Swans And Stags Vie For Early Supremacy


Written by: Ryan Low

The New Paper League Cup (Semi-Final)

Albirex Niigata (S) vs Tampines Rovers
(Tuesday, 26 July, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)

Albirex Niigata (S) and Tampines Rovers face off in The New Paper (TNP) League Cup semi-finals at the Jurong East Stadium on Tuesday night, with both sides looking to end each other’s aspirations of a domestic Treble.

Albirex have been enjoying a stunning season under coach Naoki Naruo, winning 16 out of 21 matches in all competitions so far. They currently lead the Great Eastern-Yeo’s S.League table by four points and are in the semi-finals of both cup competitions.

Tampines are no slouch either, enjoying a significant upsurge in fortunes since the lesser heralded Akbar Nawas succeeded V Sundramoorthy in the coaching hot seat. The Stags trail Albirex four points with eight league games to go and are similarly in the last four of both the RHB Singapore Cup and TNP League Cup.

Something has to give way in this game, with one side going a step closer to realising their dream of collecting all three domestic trophies while another will have to contend with just chasing for the S.League and Singapore Cup.

With a fully-fit squad at their disposal and a superb record of eight wins in as many games at Jurong East this year, it looks like the White Swans are the favourites to win this.

However, Tampines are not likely to go down without a fight – having coped admirably without seven players who are away on international duty with the Singapore national team. That has been a blessing in disguise, with youngsters like Gautam Selvamany, Saifullah Akbar and Ariyan Malik all staking their first-team claims with eye-catching displays.

As such, Akbar is unlikely to tinker much with his starting eleven. The above-mentioned trio is likely to form the attacking cast again to support lone striker Billy Mehmet, while Joey Sim is set to be retained in goal despite his grave error that led to the 2-1 loss against Brunei DPMM the last time out.

On the other hand, Naruo should be bringing back big guns like Naofumi Tanaka, Kento Nagasaki and Atsushi Kawata into the line-up after resting them in last Friday’s 1-0 defeat to Geylang International.

Albirex Niigata (S) – WDWWL

22/07/16  Geylang International 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
18/07/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)
14/07/16  Home United 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
01/07/16  Geylang International 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (Singapore Cup)
28/06/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International (Singapore Cup)

Tampines Rovers – WWWWL

21/07/16  Brunei DPMM 2-1 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)
17/07/16  Warriors FC 0-3 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)
13/07/16  Tampines Rovers 6-4 Hougang United (League Cup)
02/07/16  Global FC 1-2 Tampines Rovers (Singapore Cup)
29/06/16  Tampines Rovers 3-1 Global FC (Singapore Cup)