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White Swans Face Eagles In Rematch

Albirex Niigata (S) vs Geylang International

(5 August, Saturday, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

In a rematch of their The New Paper League Cup semi-final, Albirex Niigata (S) will host Geylang International in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at Jurong East Stadium on Saturday night.

The two teams met in the last four of the League Cup with Albirex running out comfortable 4-0 winners over Geylang before beating Warriors FC in the final to win the competition for a record fourth time.  

Riding high at the moment, the reigning champions have notched six straight wins in all competitions as they lead the S.League standings on 37 points - six more than second-placed Tampines Rovers - having played a game more.  

Albirex head coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga stressed it will be a different ball game altogether this time round but is confident they can go out and get the three points.

“We will not change the way we play even if we may not know how the other team will set up,” he said.   

“That aside, I will do my best to prepare the team for anything that can happen in this match and do the necessary. Whatever it is, we will just prepare to win this game.”

In addition, the Japanese outfit have not dropped any points in 22 matches played at their Jurong East base, with their last defeat there coming against Tampines in a 1-0 reverse in November 2015.  

But Yoshinaga is refusing to be drawn into the notion that this is a sure-win game for his side as he believes Geylang will not be easy pickings.

“There are no games in which victory or defeat is decided from before the game,” said Yoshinaga, whose side come into this on the back of a 2-1 win over Warriors.

“I would like to prepare for my team to win, no matter what happens.”

Geylang meanwhile, will come into this the fresher of the two with their last S.League match being a 1-0 win over Brunei DPMM last Monday.

While head coach Noor Ali feels the few days of extra rest will not make much of a difference, he is nonetheless hopeful of getting a result against the high-flying White Swans.

“The game against DPMM was good and I thought the boys responded well after the League Cup semis loss to Albirex,” he enthused.

“Although it was not easy playing against them, the boys showed the winning mentality to bounce back with a positive result.”

“They are on a high at the moment, but I have the same mentality for this - to go out there and try to take the game to them,” said Noor.

“Albirex are a very fit team who are technically and tactically sound. They can also last the 90 mins easily. It’s not easy to play against them on the artificial turf at Jurong East as they are a good passing team who create chances and are dangerous at set-pieces.          

“Hopefully we can do something here and make the league more interesting. It’s not an easy task but not mission impossible.”

The Eagles will continue to be without long-term absentees Stanely Ng and Fahrish Khan who are both injured but will otherwise have no suspensions to contend with.

Albirex Niigata (S) - WWWWW

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

26/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Balestier Khalsa

21/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

18/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)

13/07/17 Home United 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (The New Paper League Cup)

Geylang International - WWDLW

24/07/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Geylang International

18/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)

14/07/17 Brunei DPMM 3-3 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)

11/07/17 Tampines Rovers 1-4 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)

08/07/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-2 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)

Head to Head (S.League)

11/05/17 Geylang International 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

22/09/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Geylang International

20/05/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International

10/03/16 Geylang International 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

26/10/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International

  • Geylang International
  • Albirex Niigata (S)
  • S.league
  • Hyundai
  • Great Eastern