News • March 18, 2016

White Swans Aim To Make Up Lost Ground Against Warriors



Written by: Shawn Lim

Warriors FC vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(Friday, 18 March, 7.45pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) will meet Warriors FC in the week’s LIVE match at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night as they seek to pick up maximum points and put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack in the league table.

The White Swans have dropped four points in their last two matches which ended in stalemates, and will be keen to make up for lost ground even though it is still early in the season, with their opponents are sniping at their heels.

While Albirex are tied with on eight points with second-placed Brunei DPMM, the White Swans have a game in hand, which they intend to fully take advantage of when they meet Warriors, before the defending champions play on Sunday.

All eyes will be on coach Naoki Nauro, who despite introducing an exciting brand of football to the Japanese club with a possession-based 3-4-3 formation, has struggled to come up with a Plan B when faced with sides who don’t allow his side time and space on the ball.

In the White Swans’ goalless draw with Geylang International last week, the Eagles pressed Nauro’s side high up the pitch from the off to prevent them from building up from the back and managed to keep Albirex in their own half for around 20 minutes of the first-half.

True enough, without the ball, the Japanese side ran around chasing shadows and could have almost gone two goals down before the interval against Geylang.

Nauro has also found it hard to employ his tactics against teams who prefer to defend as a team in their own half, which was painfully evident in his side’s 1-1 draw with Balestier Khalsa earlier in the season.

The Japanese coach will need to find an alternative plan as most of the clubs in the league have already figured out how to stop the White Swans and if he doesn’t find a new tactic soon, Nauro could be in for a frustrating time for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, Warriors, who have only one win in their past five matches, are still searching for consistency this season despite main striker Jonathan Behe scoring a goal in every match he has played in this season.

Behe fired his side ahead in their previous game against Balestier, but a lack of concentration saw the Warriors conceding a goal in stoppage time and go away with only one point.

Having only one win so far this season, which came against a weak Garena Young Lions side, is not something to proud of for a nine-time S.League champion.

Warriors coach Jorg Steinebrunner will need to find a way to keep his team of experienced and talented individuals to keep their concentration as well as find the winning mentality.

Key Men To Watch

Warriors FC: Poh Yi Feng

The hard-tackling defensive player doesn’t shirk from a tough challenge and goes about breaking up play without any fuss.

Warriors will need Poh, who can play in midfield or defence, to be at his very best on Friday night if they want to stop the White Swans from causing too much damage on the flanks and having less time on the ball.

Albirex Niigata (S): Tatsuro Inui

The playmaker has returned from an injury layoff and showed some shades of his abilities against his former side Geylang.

Inui will be crucial to creating chances for the White Swans when they find themselves backed against the wall, as they experienced in recent games.

With the league’s joint-top scorer Atsushi Kawata and man-mountain Kazuki Mine in front of him, Inui has no shortage of dangermen to spray his crosses and passes to.

Warriors FC – LDLWD

11/03/16  Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
04/03/16  Warriors FC 2-0 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
27/02/16  Brunei DPMM 3-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
14/02/16  Home United 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
20/11/15  Geylang International 6-0 Warriors FC (S.League)

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWWDD

10/03/16  Geylang International 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
27/02/16  Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
20/02/16  Garena Young Lions 0-5 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
13/02/16  Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 Brunei DPMM (S.League)
27/11/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Home United (Singapore Cup)

Head To Head (S.League)

30/10/15  Warriors FC 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
18/05/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC
14/03/15  Warriors FC 0-6 Albirex Niigata (S)
31/10/14  Warriors FC 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S)
01/08/14  Warriors FC 1-3 Albirex Niigata (S)