Global FC vs Tampines Rovers: Uphill task for visitors against in-form Stags

Singapore Cup quarter-final second leg | Jalan Besar Stadium | Sat 2 Jul | 8.00pm   

Billed as

Global FC’s opportunity to avenge their first defeat of 2016.

The lowdown

Global FC Form

  • Tampines 3-1 Global (Singapore Cup)

  • Forza 0-2 Global (UFL)

  • Global 3-0 PSG (UFL)

  • Kaya 0-3 Global (UFL)

  • Nagaworld FC 0-5 Global (UFL)

Tampines Rovers Form

  • Tampines 3-1 Global (Singapore Cup)

  • Tampines 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)

  • Balestier Khalsa 2-3 Tampines (Singapore Cup)

  • Tampines 6-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)

  • Tampines 4-3 Brunei DPMM (S.League)

Another game, another win. It does look like Tampines Rovers are really kicking into gear now under coach Akbar Nawas, who took over the reins from V.Sundramoorthy in late May.

The unheralded 41-year-old has already surpassed his predecessor in terms of stringing together successive wins – notching five in five so far, while Sundram’s best run was a four-match perfect streak from September 27 to October 28 last year.

Numbers aside, the Stags are displaying a refreshing brand of attacking football that is both pleasing on the eye and yielding the goals – with a total of 17 over the last five matches.

The players are clearly enjoying their roles in Akbar’s adventurous 3-4-1-2 formation, with star man Jermaine Pennant allowed the license to roam in the central areas. All three goals in the 3-1 first leg victory on Tuesday came via well-worked team moves, exemplifying that fact.

Tampines are well in control of this tie at the moment, but as many have said, a two-goal lead is always dangerous in football. An early goal in the second leg is all it takes to change the whole complexion of a tie, so there is still everything to play for.

Philippines representatives Global will certainly not go down without a fight, having previously reached the semi-finals of the Singapore Cup in 2013 and 2015.

The United Football League (UFL) outfit were not exactly outclassed in the first leg too, with the attacking trio of Hikaru Minegishi, Omid Nazari and Misagh Bahadoran posing a few problems for the Stags backline.

As seen in the flowing move that led to Bahadoran scoring in the 44th minute, they do have the firepower to turn things around in this upcoming 90 minutes (or more).

Team News

With no major injuries sustained in the first leg, both sides are expected to call on their usual core of players.

Joey Sim should continue to deputise in between the Tampines sticks for Izwan Mahbud, who is recovering from a wrist injury, for a sixth successive game.

Meanwhile Noh Rahman and Shahdan Sulaiman are expected to sit out again as the duo continue their rehabilitation from their injury setbacks.

Key Battle: Hikaru Minegishi vs Jufri Taha

Hikaru was a danger in the previous game against Tampines

While Nazari and Bahadoran are the obvious threats for Global, Tampines should not discount the ability of Japanese winger Minegishi.

Coming through from the youth system of J-League giants Urawa Red Diamonds, the 24-year-old is a gifted technical player who can both create and score.

Tasked to stop him in his tracks should be Jufri, who has been enjoying a new lease of life since Akbar took over the Tampines hot seat.

The 31-year-old centre-back started the last five matches and has impressed with his good reading of the game alongside Mustafic Fahrudin and Shakir Hamzah.

The Coaches

Global coach Leigh Manson is expected to instruct his team to go on the offensive to overturn the two-goal deficit, but do not expect Tampines coach Akbar Nawas to park the bus – given the latter’s penchant for attacking football.

It promises to be an interesting tactical battle between these two tacticians.

Facts and Figures

  • Tampines are on their best winning streak (five matches) since July 2012. Back then under Steven Tan, they won nine straight matches in all competitions before being held 1-1 by Gombak United in a League Cup game.

  • Tampines’ previous game against a Philippines opponent at Jalan Besar ended in a draw, with Ceres La Salle holding them 1-1 in an AFC Cup game back in March.

  • Global’s last game at Jalan Besar also ended in defeat as they were outclassed 3-1 by Brunei DPMM in the third place playoff in last year’s Singapore Cup.

FourFourTwo prediction

Global will produce a strong response but it may not be enough against their on-song opponents. Tampines to prevail 2-1 and progress into the semis.

Photos: S.League