Stags Keen To Bounce Back
Tampines Rovers vs Hougang United
(Friday, 3 March, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Tampines Rovers will be looking to return to winning ways when they face Hougang United in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
The Stags suffered a 2-1 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) in the Great Eastern Community Shield which doubled up as a league game at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub on Sunday.
Ryutaro Megumi got off the mark this season against the White Swans with a first-half opener, but a brace from Shoichiro Sakamoto in the space of eight second-half minutes eventually saw Tampines end the game empty-handed.
Hougang on the other hand, beat Geylang International 2-0 at Hougang Stadium a day later, thanks to goals from Fumiya Kogure and Iqbal Hussain on either side of half-time.
Looking forward to the game against the Cheetahs, Tampines forward Ivan Dzoni says his team are eager to bounce back and collect their first three points of the season.
“Of course, we are extremely disappointed with the defeat to Albirex,” the Croatian shared.
“We were leading 1-0 and I had the chance to make it 2-0, but I failed to convert the retaken penalty and everything would be over. One of our most important player, Yasir (Hanapi) was sent off shortly after and everything went downhill for us after that.
“We need to forget what happened, move on stronger and we are all looking forward to our upcoming match.”
Yasir was not the only player given his marching orders in their last game as skipper Madhu Mohana and Ismadi Mukhtar were the other two other players who saw red.
Admitting that Hougang will be no pushovers, Dzoni firmly believes head coach Juergen Raab can formulate a winning formula to beat Hougang.
“Hougang were really well-organised in the last game and controlled the whole match. It will be a hard match for both teams, especially for us since we will be missing three key players,” the 23-year-old lamented.
“It will have a big impact on how we play as it will be hard to replace them, but I believe that coach Raab will figure something out and that we will win the match.”
There will be good news for Hougang head coach Philippe Aw however as he welcomes back Nurhilmi Jasni and Faiz Salleh from a suspension carried over from last season.
The likes of Fabian Kwok, Delwinder Singh will sit this out due to injury while Ali Hudzaifi and Wahyudi Wahid are also likely absentees as they continue to work their way back to full fitness.
Suspensions: Madhu Mohana, Yasir Hanapi, Ismadi Mukhtar (Tampines Rovers)
Tampines Rovers - WLLWL
26/2/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tampines Rovers
21/2/17 Tampines Rovers 2-1 Felda United (AFC Cup)
24/01/17 Global FC 2-0 Tampines Rovers (AFC Champions League)
29/10/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Tampines Rovers (Singapore Cup)
26/10/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-5 Tampines Rovers
Hougang United - DLLLW
27/02/17 Hougang United 2-0 Geylang International
25/10/16 Warriors FC 5-1 Hougang United
20/10/16 Hougang United 0-1 Geylang International
14/10/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Hougang United
01/10/16 Hougang United 1-1 Balestier Khalsa
Head to Head (S.League)
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
17/10/15 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Hougang United
24/07/15 Hougang United 0-3 Tampines Rovers