Stags Keen To Resume League Duties With A Win
Tampines Rovers vs Balestier Khalsa
(17 June, Saturday, 8.30pm, Jurong West Stadium)
Written by: Shawn Lim
Tampines Rovers will hope to resume their duties in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League after the international break with a win against Balestier Khalsa at Jurong West Stadium on Saturday night.
After a heavy 4-1 defeat to league leaders Albirex Niigata (S), the Stags bounced back with a 3-0 victory over Hougang United in their last game and will now seek to build consistency after mixed results in the S.League to date.
However, the Stags will welcome back eight players who played against Chinese Taipei and Argentina while on international duty for Singapore, with some carrying knocks and injuries.
They will join key striker Khairul Amri on the treatment table, while Fazrul Nawaz is not registered for the league despite recovering from a long-term injury. In addition, defender Shakir Hamzah is suspended for this game.
“We have many players missing and it is very tough for us to prepare against Balestier. Izwan Mahbud has a hamstring injury, Shakir is suspended and we do not have Amri too,” said Stags head coach Juergen Raab.
“We were hoping that Yasir Hanapi would be able to play his last game for us because he is leaving for his new club (PDRM FA), but he returned yesterday saying he is feeling pain in his ankle.
“Fazrul has recovered and is training, but we did not register him as we were unsure when he would recover. So we have to use the fit players we have at our disposal.”
Despite having a personnel crisis on his hands, Raab insists that he expects the players that he picks for the starting lineup to put on a performance against Balestier and execute his game plan.
“Even though we are missing our key players, it is not an excuse for the rest to not perform. We have trained hard for this game, so I expect them to play by my game plan,” said the German.
“Balestier is not an easy team to play even if they are struggling, so I expect a tough game against them.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers are winless in five games and have only won twice this season after ten games played. To add on to their misery, they are also out of the 2017 RHB Singapore Cup after losing 4-3 to Cambodian side Nagaworld FC.
The only positive for Balestier in the match against the Cambodian club is that they managed to score three goals - a department where the Toa Payoh-based club are struggling with after only finding the net four times in the league so far.
Tigers head coach Marko Kraljevic will miss defender Sheikh Abdul Hadi through suspension, but will be pleased that goalkeeper and captain Zaiful Nizam has returned from international duty free from injury.
Suspensions: Shakir Hamzah (Tampines Rovers); Sheikh Abdul Hadi (Balestier Khalsa)
Tampines Rovers - WLWLW
25/05/17 Hougang United 0-3 Tampines Rovers
21/05/17 Tampines Rovers 1-4 Albirex Niigata (S)
12/05/17 Tampines Rovers 3-2 Home United
03/05/17 Tampines Rovers 2-4 Ceres-Negros FC (AFC Cup)
28/04/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Tampines Rovers
Balestier Khalsa - LLLLL
01/06/17 Balestier Khalsa 3-4 Nagaworld FC (CAM) (Singapore Cup)
26/05/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Geylang International
19/05/17 Warriors FC 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
02/05/17 Home United 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
27/04/17 Hougang United 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
Head to Head (S.League)
11/03/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Tampines Rovers
22/10/16 Tampines Rovers 2-0 Balestier Khalsa
17/06/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-3 Tampines Rovers
07/04/16 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
05/11/15 Balestier Khalsa 4-3 Tampines Rovers