Singapore Premier League • March 1, 2014

Webb Returns for Tampines Clash


Tampines Rovers vs Courts Young Lions

(March 1, Saturday, 7.30pm, Clementi Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Tampines Rovers entertain a Courts Young Lions side looking to banish the memories from their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Balestier Khalsa in their opening game of the season at the Clementi Stadium on Saturday night. .

In that match, Aide Iskandar’s boys fought hard and gave their all but could not find a way past the Tigers. While they may have been taught a harsh footballing lesson by Marko Kraljevic’s charges, Young Lions had 52% of the possession in that match and a passing accuracy of 84% compared to Balestier’s 69%.

Forward Jordan Webb missed the game against Balestier due to a suspension carried forward from last year, but he will be available for selection again and will no doubt provide a boost for the Young Lions upfront.

While Tampines look the superior of the two on paper, Young Lions have shown in the past that they are no pushovers and are determined to prove a point in the league. M. Anumanthan and Al-Qaasimy Rahman will continue to hold the fort in central midfield and defence respectively for the developmental side as they bank on Sherif El-Masri to lead the attack alongside Webb.

The Stags meanwhile, welcome the return of marquee signing Miljan Mrdakovic who missed his side’s 5-0 defeat to Kitchee Sports Club in the AFC Cup earlier in the week due to suspension .

While it was despair on the continental stage, their opening day 1-0 over Home United in the Great Eastern Charity Shield – which doubled as a league game – gave Tampines fans some reason to cheer. Despite the win, the Stags were not dominant and were coming under Home’s bombardment, especially in the closing stages but managed to hang on.

Tampines who are known to utilise the flanks, will likely be delivering the balls into the penalty box for Mrdakovic and the evergreen Aleksandar Duric to try find the net.

Salim has also at his disposal two potential game-changers in ex-Lion Noh Alam Shah and super-sub Jamil Ali and they could be introduced if Tampines are to find themselves chasing the game.

However, if Salim wants to avoid a third consecutive defeat in all competitions, his team must avoid losing the ball unnecessarily after managing only 33% possession against Home.

Key Man to Watch

Tampines Rovers : Shahdan Sulaiman

Shahdan’s contribution to the team usually goes unnoticed, but the former LionsXII player was one of Tampines best player against Home. He was constantly roaming around the midfield and closing down the opponent, winning 60% of the challenges in their own half for the team.

With a 50% overall successful tackles and 76% of accurate passes, Shahdan is definitely the type of player any coach would want in their team.

Shahdan might not be creating headlines for the squad, but his work rate is one of the highest in the league and he prefers to keep it simple with his slick one-touch passes in the final third.

Courts Young Lions : Jordan Webb

Against Balestier, the Young Lions looked clueless upfront, but the return of Webb from suspension should make a difference.

Webb has the pace and skills required to torment defences, and his bag of tricks will be essential in helping his team achieve a result. The winger also has an eye for goals, and he might just pop up with one.

Tampines Rovers – LWLWL

26/2/14      Tampines Rovers 0-5 Kitchee SC (AFC Cup)

21/2/14      Tampines Rovers 1-0 Home United

2/2/14        Tampines Rovers 1-2 South China (ACL)

4/11/13      Woodlands Wellington 3-6 Tampines Rovers

1/11/13      Tampines Rovers 1-3 Albirex Niigata (S)

Courts Young Lions – LWWWL

23/2/14       Courts Young Lions 0-4 Balestier Khalsa

5/11/13       Courts Young Lions 2-0 Hougang United

31/10/13     Courts Young Lions 2-1 Warriors

27/10/13     Harimau Muda B 0-3 Courts Young Lions

24/10/13     Geylang International 1-0 Courts Young Lions

Head to Head (S.League)

6/8/13        Courts Young Lions 2-4 Tampines Rovers

28/2/13      Tampines Rovers 3-0 Courts Young Lions

19/9/12      Courts Young Lions 0-3 Tampines Rovers

5/3/12        Tampines Rovers 2-1 Courts Young Lions

22/10/11     Tampines Rovers 4-1 Courts Young Lions

12/7/11       Courts Young Lions 0-1 Tampines Rovers

17/4/11       Tampines Rovers 1-0 Courts Young Lions