Singapore Premier League • April 9, 2014
Webb’s Timely Return for Albirex Clash
Young Lions vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(April 10, Thursday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Courts Young Lions entertain Albirex Niigata (S) at the Jalan Besar Stadium as they aim to end their winless streak in both the league and against the White Swans.
The last time Young Lions triumphed over the Japanese outfit was back in 2010 in a RHB Singapore Cup encounter, where they won 1-0.
Coach Aide Iskandar has to rally his troops and mentally lift them up for this game following their heavy defeat to Brunei DPMM in their previous match.
One positive outlook for the Young Lions is the return of midfield wizard Jordan Webb from suspension.
The Canadian was sorely missed in their last two matches. Webb provides an extra edge to the midfield with his mazy runs and slick passes, and connects well with former Canadian Under-23 international Sherif El-Masri in midfield.
This season, the developmental side have been putting up decent performances but have found wins hard to come by, garnering only a point thus far. While energetic displays have seen them give teams a run for their money, inexperience has cost them dearly.
Albirex have similarly endured an inconsistent form recently and needed a late goal from Taiyo Nishida to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw with Woodlands Wellington before snatching a 2-1 win over Tanjong Pagar in their last match.
Under new coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama, the Albirex of 2014 have adopted a more direct approach going forward and are more attack-minded as opposed to the past few seasons.
Striker Kazuki Sakamoto has been a beneficiary of that, having scored four goals, and will be looking to add to that tally.
Key Men To Watch
Courts Young Lions: Jordan Webb
Snapped up from Home United, Jordan Webb is certainly Courts Young Lions’ best signing in years.
The speedy winger joins his Canadian compatriot Sherif El-Masri at the club and the partnership between the two is expected to produce lots of goals and lift the Cubs up the league table.
His speed and nifty footwork is a delight to watch while his pinpoint crosses into the penalty box is certainly adored by his teammates.
Albirex Niigata (S): Shuhei Hotta
Despite losing his captaincy to Itsuki Yamada this season, Shuhei Hotta have been a reliable and effective central defender for Okuyama. The 25-year-old is not known to be flashy but gets his job done and occasionally goes up for the set pieces.
Hotta’s presence at the back provides composure to his younger teammates in defence, which includes Kentho Fujihara and Soichiro Tanaka, both 22 and 21-year-old respectively.
Courts Young Lions – LLLDL
6/4/14 Brunei DPMM 6-1 Courts Young Lions
26/3/14 Courts Young Lions 2-3 Tanjong Pagar United
20/3/14 Geylang International 1-0 Courts Young Lions
13/3/14 Courts Young Lions 2-2 Woodlands Wellington
1/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-2 Courts Young Lions
Albirex Niigata (S) – WDWLW
4/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tanjong Pagar United
26/3/14 Woodlands Wellington 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
21/3/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
12/3/14 Hougang United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
27/2/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Harimau Muda
Head to Head (S.League)
5/7/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-1 Courts Young Lions
20/3/13 Courts Young Lions 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
27/10/12 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-2 Courts Young Lions
6/5/12 Courts Young Lions 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
14/9/11 Courts Young Lions 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
31/5/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Courts Young Lions
26/3/11 Courts Young Lions 0-5 Albirex Niigata (S)