Cheetahs Target Positive Start To Hectic September
Tampines Rovers vs Hougang United
(9 September, Saturday, 7.30pm, Our Tampines Hub)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
In the first of six matches they will play in September, Hougang United will face Tampines Rovers in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday night.
The Cheetahs will then take on Garena Young Lions before a double header against 2015 S.League champions Brunei DPMM. Following which, they will lock horns with Philippine outfit Global Cebu FC in a two-legged RHB Singapore Cup semifinal scheduled for the end of the month.
Hougang head coach Philippe Aw is therefore eyeing a good start to the month by claiming all three points against the Stags to end a three-match winless streak in the S.League.
“For us, now that we are back in action of course we want to go into every game wanting to achieve a positive result,” he said.
“The Singapore Cup semi-finals are at the end of the month and we definitely want to have good momentum going into it. So the best is to aim for a good start against Tampines come Saturday.”
Having lost twice to Tampines in the S.League this season, Aw is well-aware of what his team needs to do in order to get a result.
“We’ve played them twice and lost both, but I felt we actually matched them in those two games,” he noted.
“The only difference was that they scored from their chances. We had ours but didn’t make them count. We will look to finish off the chances we create this time round, which I believe we will get.
“We are going there to get a positive start to September. We will give them a good fight and whoever scores the first goal will be crucial.”
Hougang come into this on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Geylang International before the international break, after a two-match winning run which saw them overcome Cambodian outfit Nagaworld FC 8-1 over two legs in the RHB Singapore Cup quarterfinals.
With the return of several key players such as Wahyudi Wahid and Lionel Tan, Aw admits he has a pleasant selection headache at his hands as he prepares to navigate through a hectic month.
“It’s good that majority of the injured players are back in the team, we now have a big squad to train with, Apart from Zulfairuuz Rudy (third choice goalkeeper) who is recovering from a long-term injury, everyone else is available,” he shared.
“It’s very important to have players like Lionel and Nurhilmi (Jasni) back, giving us more options because we are going to play many games this month. The more players we have, the better it is for us.
“We will then have to select the players according to what we want on the day.”
Tampines meanwhile are reeling from three straight defeats to leaders Albirex Niigata (S) in both the Singapore Cup and the S.League and will be looking for a victory to keep their slim title hopes alive.
Eight players from the Stags’ squad were involved on international duty with the Singapore national team against Hong Kong in a friendly followed by an AFC Asian Cup 2019 Group E qualifier against Turkmenistan.
Talismanic forward Khairul Amri limped off midway through the latter game and it remains to be seen if the 32-year-old will take to the pitch although South Korean midfielder Son Yong Chan will miss out due to suspension.
Suspension: Son Yong Chan (Tampines Rovers)
Tampines Rovers - LWLLL
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)
28/07/17 Tampines Rovers 2-0 Brunei DPMM
14/07/17 Balestier Khalsa 3-0 Tampines Rovers (The New Paper League Cup)
Hougang United - DLWWL
18/08/17 Hougang United 0-1 Geylang International
14/08/17 Nagaworld FC 0-4 Hougang United (RHB Singapore Cup)
11/08/17 Hougang United 4-1 Nagaworld FC (RHB Singapore Cup)
04/08/17 Hougang United 0-1 Warriors FC
29/07/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Hougang United
Head to Head (S.League)
25/05/17 Hougang United 0-3 Tampines Rovers
03/03/17 Tampines Rovers 2-1 Hougang United
17/08/16 Tampines Rovers 1-2 Hougang United
04/05/16 Hougang United 1-1 Tampines Rovers
26/02/16 Tampines Rovers 4-1 Hougang United