Singapore Premier League • May 1, 2014
Uniformed Rivals Battle For Supremacy
Warriors FC vs Home United
(May 2, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
High-flying Warriors FC take on Home United in the week’s televised match at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
This will be an intriguing battle of attacking prowess on display, with both teams among the high-scoring teams in the league.
After many seasons of underachievements, the Warriors are finally back among the contenders for the title and meet Home as equals, instead of being the underdogs as was the case in recent years.
Under Weaver and the introduction of foreign legion Miroslav Pejic, Nicholas Velez, Kevin McCann and Thomas Beattie, the Warriors have taken the league by storm with their impressive performances, including a 4-0 victory over Albirex Niigata (S).
Pejic and Velez have combined to deadly effect and with seven goals each, the duo have contributed to 14 out of the team’s 18 goals so far this season.
The Choa Chu Kang-based side were 3-2 winners over the Courts Young Lions the last time out as a brace from Velez and a strike from Marin Vidosevic sealed all three points for Warriors despite a late comeback from the developmental side.
On the other hand, Home’s six-game winning run in all competitions came to a halt after a 4-2 reverse to Albirex on Sunday and they will hope to bounce back with a win here.
Marquee player Lee Kwan Woo found the net twice in the final 13 minutes of that match, but it proved to nothing more than a consolation. He was one of the brightest sparks in what was an otherwise lacklustre Home team who were seemingly fatigued after their midweek exploits in the AFC Cup.
However, Home have recruited wisely and their signings are starting to yield dividends with the Protectors going on a impressive run of games before they were brought crashing back to earth by the White Swans.
Former Singapore international Precious Emuejeraye has adapted well to his new role in the holding midfield area while Fazrul Nawaz and Indra Sahdan are contributing to the bulk of the goals.
As such, Home coach Lee Lim Saeng will be hoping for a much-improved performance from his charges, in a game they can ill-afford to lose if they want to remain in the running for the title.
That said, expect much end-to-end action at Jalan Besar, and the more clinical of the two to edge out the other in what should be a goals-galore encounter.
Key Men To Watch
Warriors FC: Miroslav Pejic
While strike partner Nicholas Velez has been hogging the headlines in recent weeks, Pejic has been quietly contributing to the team behind the scenes with his assists.
In their 4-0 thrashing of Albirex, the Croatian set up three out of the four goals Velez netted and had a 79% rate of accuracy in his passes. In addition, seven out of his eight key passes also found its target.
Hence, Home have to keep an eye on him and shut off supply to a man who has already seven assists this season.
Home United: Lee Kwan Woo
With an eye for a pass, Lee has the ability to split open defences with his wide range of passing and that fact could give him the advantage in winning the midfield battle against the likes of Thomas Beattie and Kevin McCann..
The midfield maestro also poses a threat in set-pieces especially with his free-kick taking where he has found the net on occasions.
The South Korean pulled two goals back in their defeat to Albirex, including a stunning long-range effort which crashed off the underside of the bar and Warriors ought to heed that warning to not allow him too much time and space on the ball.
Warriors FC – WWDWD
24/4/14 Courts Young Lions 2-3 Warriors FC
16/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC
10/4/14 Tanjong Pagar United 1-1 Warriors FC
3/4/14 Warriors FC 1-0 Woodlands Wellington
28/3/14 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Warriors FC
Home United – LWWWW
27/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Home United
23/4/14 Persipura Jayapura 0-2 Home United (AFC Cup)
17/4/14 Home United 4-0 Tanjong Pagar United
13/4/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-3 Home United
9/4/14 Home United 2-0 New Radiant (AFC Cup)
Head to Head (S.League)
2/8/13 Warriors FC 0-1 Home United
15/4/13 Home United 1-1 Warriors FC
12/7/12 Home United 0-3 Warriors FC
4/3/12 Warriors FC 3-3 Home United
16/10/11 Warriors FC 0-4 Home United
6/7/11 Home United 3-2 Warriors FC
7/4/11 Warriors FC 2-0 Home United