News • September 6, 2017

Young Lions Face Tough White Swans Test


Garena Young Lions vs Albirex Niigata (S)

(8 September, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Garena Young Lions’ Illyas Lee has expressed optimism as they turn their attentions back to the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League, welcoming leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.

This will be the developmental side’s first S.League fixture in over two months, with a majority of its squad being involved in the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers and then the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur over the past two months.

Although they come up against the high-flying White Swans, Lee is hopeful of putting up a good showing as they look to finish the season strongly.

“Albirex are the current leaders and they are the team to beat in the league,” said the 22-year-old, whose side’s last league game was a 2-1 reverse against Geylang International.

“We are determined to put on a good performance and aim to get a good result against them. This will give us the momentum in the league and hopefully we can climb up the table.

According to Lee, preparation for this game has been going well under new head coach Vincent Subramaniam, who has since taken over the reigns from Richard Tardy.

“We have been training hard since returning from the SEA Games and although there has been a change in coach, we have had no problems adapting to his playing philosophy,” Lee shared.

“We played two friendly games over the past week against the National U-20 team and the Geylang International S.League team, winning both games. As such, we want to start this week with a good performance and show what the team is capable of.”

Up next for the Young Lions after this is a game against Tampines Rovers just three days later but Lee is unperturbed by the scheduling.

“Playing the two teams (Albirex and Tampines) within the space of four days will be tough, but we are prepared,” he declared.

“We have experienced this in the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers and SEA Games so I don’t foresee it to be a problem and the team will be ready for the challenge.”

And Lee is well-aware of what the Young Lions have to do in order to get a positive result.

“We just need to have more belief, composure and heart to translate the good performances into wins,” he concluded.

Albirex meanwhile come into this having strung ten straight wins in all competitions.

Kazuaki Yoshinaga’s side now find themselves sitting pretty on top of the S.League standings and have also reached the last four of the RHB Singapore Cup after seeing off Tampines 7-1 over two legs.

Their last match before the international break saw them beat the Stags in emphatic fashion in a 4-0 rout but Yoshinaga insists his charges cannot rest on their laurels as they resume their title charge.

“I’m emphasising to the players to work harder (in the upcoming matches) because the teams will fight hard to get the win over us,” he said.

“This is just the third round and there are more fights coming along. We have to keep our discipline and shape till the end, continue to make sacrifices and show the values I want for the team.”

Garena Young Lions – LLDDL

02/07/17 Geylang International 2-1 Garena Young Lions

28/06/17 Garena Young Lions 0-0 Warriors FC

22/06/17 Garena Young Lions 0-0 Balestier Khalsa

26/05/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 8-0 Garena Young Lions

21/05/17 Garena Young Lions 1-2 Home United

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWWWW

19/08/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Tampines Rovers

13/08/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Tampines Rovers (RHB Singapore Cup)

10/08/17 Tampines Rovers 1-5 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup)

05/08/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 5-0 Geylang International

29/07/17 Warriors FC 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)

Head to Head (S.League)

26/05/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 8-0 Garena Young Lions

04/03/17 Garena Young Lions 0-5 Albirex Niigata (S)

11/08/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Garena Young Lions

28/04/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Garena Young Lions

20/02/16 Garena Young Lions 0-5 Albirex Niigata (S)