Singapore Premier League • August 28, 2014
Warriors and Stags Aim To Pace With DPMM
Warriors FC vs Tampines Rovers
(29 August, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
The Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League title race heats up as Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers face off in the week’s televised game at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
This will also be the last game before the league table splits into two but the two teams are assured of a top-half finish at least and this will be a vast improvement for the Warriors given the fact they finished a disappointing seventh-place last year.
The two teams are currently separated by just one point in the standings, Tampines in second on 39 points behind Brunei DPMM while Warriors sit fourth with 38 points.
In their last match, Alex Weaver’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by Home United as they required a late goal from hotshot Nicholas Velez to salvage a point.
Similarly, Tampines drew 2-2 with Albirex Niigata (S) after squandering a two-goal lead against the White Swans who stormed back through a brace from Kazuki Sakamoto.
With DPMM beating Woodlands Wellington on Tuesday night, the lead at the top is now a whopping four points.
Hence, a victory here will be imperative if both want to keep their title hopes alive especially for the Stags who will want to defend the title they won last year.
Tampines will miss forward Miljan Mrdakovic who serves an one-match suspension but they should have enough in them still to overcome the Warriors who will similarly see Miroslav Pejic sit out for the same reason.
Pejic’s absence in particularly could hurt the Warriors’ chances as he has been one of the key players for the eight-time league champions, contributing with assists and 10 goals to his name.
But they can take heart from the performance of goalkeeper Hassan Sunny who has been a commanding presence in between the sticks with opposing forwards generally finding it hard to beat him.
Hassan and co will have to be on their toes as he comes up against Aleksandar Duric and Noh Alam Shah, both of whom are proven goalscorers despite their age. The duo are ably supported by Jacob Butler and vice-captain Shahdan Sulaiman from midfield and they are capable of causing some damage.
The last time the two teams met in the league was in May and that game ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Tampines needing a late own goal from Marin Vidosevic to earn a share of the spoils.
Suspensions: Miroslav Pejic (Warriors FC); Miljan Mrdakovic (Tampines Rovers)
Key Men To Watch
Warriors FC: Nicholas Velez
Velez has proved to be one of the key players for Warriors this season as he has scored goals for fun, having netted 18 times so far.
He rescued a point for his side in their last game against Home, equalising right at the death while grabbing a hat-trick against the Courts Young Lions two matches ago.
He was pivotal in their 4-1 win over the Young Lions as he not only found the net, but also laid on the assist for Hafiz Rahim to score in a game which saw him successfully complete 63% of his passes.
Tampines Rovers: Shahdan Sulaiman
Shahdan was easily one of Tampines’ best players on Monday in their draw with Albirex as he controlled the game from midfield with his excellent passing range and was unlucky that his side failed to collect all three points.
In Week 20 of the S.League where they lost 1-0 to Tanjong Pagar United, he saw 71% of his passes finding its intended target while winning more than half of the challenges (56%) he executed.
He has also formed a formidable partnership with mid-season signing Butler almost immediately and the duo will be key to stopping Warriors from advancing into the final third by cutting off the supply to their frontmen.
Warriors FC – DWLLL
24/8/14 Home United 2-2 Warriors FC
20/8/14 Warriors FC 4-1 Courts Young Lions
1/8/14 Warriors FC 1-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
18/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United (AET) 1-0 Warriors FC (StarHub League Cup QF)
15/7/14 Warriors FC 0-4 Geylang International (StarHub League Cup Group B)
Tampines Rovers – DLWWW
25/8/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-2 Tampines Rovers
22/8/14 Tampines Rovers 0-1 Tanjong Pagar United
31/7/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-2 Tampines Rovers
24/7/14 Tampines Rovers 3-0 Balestier Khalsa (StarHub League Cup Plate Final)
19/7/14 Tampines Rovers 9-0 Police SA (StarHub League Cup Plate SF)
Head to Head (S.League)
8/5/14 Tampines Rovers 3-3 Warriors FC
28/6/13 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Warriors FC
21/3/13 Warriors FC 0-1 Tampines Rovers
19/10/12 Warriors FC 2-3 Tampines Rovers
28/4/12 Tampines Rovers 0-1 Warriors FC
27/9/11 Warriors FC 1-3 Tampines Rovers
21/6/11 Tampines Rovers 1-2 Warriors FC
24/3/11 Warriors FC 0-1 Tampines Rovers