Geylang International vs Warriors FC: Uniformed giants seek Singapore Cup balm

Singapore Cup | Jalan Besar Stadium | Fri 27 May | 7.45pm 

Billed as

The chance for Warriors to start afresh in a new competition.

The lowdown

Geylang Form

  • 20/05/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang (S.League)
  • 14/05/16 Balestier Khalsa 1-3 Geylang (S.League)
  • 05/05/16 Geylang 3-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
  • 30/04/16 Brunei DPMM 1-2 Geylang (S.League)
  • 21/04/16 Geylang 0-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)

Warriors Form

  • 20/05/16 Warriors 1-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
  • 17/05/16 Warriors 0-0 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
  • 12/05/16 Garena Young Lions 3-1 Warriors (S.League)
  • 05/05/16 Warriors 1-1 Brunei DPMM (S.League)
  • 30/04/16 Tampines Rovers 4-2 Warriors (S.League)

It is not the best of times at Warriors FC, to put it mildly. With just two victories in 13 games and none in their last eight, the uniformed giants are floundering in the S.League as they sit third from bottom.

In fact, out of their 33 games in all competitions over the past year, they have won just six times. That is the worst record out of all the current teams, Garena Young Lions (eight wins) included.

The nine-time league champions will be hoping for a change in fortunes in a different competition then, as they seek to win the Singapore Cup for a fifth time.

Their four triumphs to date came as previous incarnation Singapore Armed Forces FC, with the last title in 2012.

However, the Warriors have fallen at the first hurdle of every subsequent year and they will aim to prevent a repeat when they face this year’s opponents Geylang International.

The Eagles, whose sole triumph came in 2009, will also be looking to bounce back from league disappointment following a 2-0 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) that ended a three-game winning streak.

Losing quarter-finalists in the last three editions, Cup glory may well be their best bet of silverware this year.

Team news

Syaqir Sulaiman will miss out for Warriors due to suspension, while fellow defenders Shaiful Esah, Andy Ahmad and Ismail Yunos are all not 100 per cent fit. Madhu Mohana apparently has shaken off a knock and is slated to feature.

Geylang will have to do without centre-back Shariff Samat, who was sentenced to two weeks’ jail on Monday for voluntarily causing hurt to a relative.

Key Battle: Gabriel Quak vs Zulfadli Zainal

Quak could heap more misery on Warriors

On his day, Quak is as unbeatable as wingers come and Geylang will hope he rises to the occasion here, just like he did in their previous meeting against Warriors.

With two goals and three assists so far, the 25-year-old is a genuine threat with his left foot around the area and at set-pieces.

This means Warriors captain and left-back Zulfadli Zainal will have to keep his wits about him when they face off, with Quak often looking to cut inside from the right flank, where he is usually deployed. The 28-year-old will also look to supplement his team’s attack when possible with overlaps and crosses.

The Coaches

Hasrin Jailani has performed creditably in his first season as head coach, moulding a tough Geylang outfit that has given every other side a run for their money.

The former Singapore international encourages his players to build from the back and push forward in most circumstances, but has shown a willingness to adapt his tactics to different opposition.

Counterpart Razif Onn is looking for his first victory since taking over from Jorg Steinebrunner two games ago.

Fringe players like Hafiz Sulaiman and Hafsyar Farkhan have been given run-outs as he looks to make his mark on the team and he will hope third time is the charm.

Past five meetings

  • 01/04/16 Geylang 2-2 Warriors (S.League)
  • 20/11/15 Geylang 6-0 Warriors (S.League)
  • 29/08/15 Warriors 1-1 Geylang  (S.League)
  • 02/05/15 Geylang 3-1 Warriors (S.League)
  • 15/07/14 Warriors 0-4 Geylang  (League Cup)

 

Facts and Figures

  • This is the fifth Singapore Cup meeting between both teams. Warriors won their semi-final 2-1 on aggregate in 2000, but lost the other three: 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-final (2001), 2-1 in group stage (2003), 2-1 in Round of 16 (2009).
  • Geylang have scored five goals from outside the box in open play, the most of any team in the league. Warriors have conceded a league-high five times from range.
  • Three different substitutes have scored for Geylang this season, the most of any team in the league.
  • Nikola Rak has hit the woodwork three times this season.
  • Jonathan Behe has scored nine of Warriors’ 16 league goals.

FourFourTwo prediction

This should be a close battle, but Geylang should just about sneak through. 2-1 to the Eagles.