S.League | Bishan Stadium | Thur 3 Mar| 7.30pm
Clash of two star-studded squads.
This will be a battle of epic proportions, considering the players both sides possess.
For Tampines, everyone knows Jermaine Pennant will be a danger man after his starring displays of late. But he will not be Home’s only concern, with fellow foreign players Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet joining Pennant to form a holy trinity that will strike terror into any side.
Singapore internationals Shahdan Sulaiman and Fazrul Nawaz have also staked their claim to be part of the starting eleven, after hitting the back of the net against Hougang United, whom the Stags beat 4-1.
Home United form
- Hougang United 1-0 Home (S.League)
- Home 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
- Albirex Niigata 2-1 Home (RHB Cup)
- Home 2-0 Brunei DPMM (RHB Cup)
- Home 2-1 Young Lions (S.League)
Past Five meetings
- Home 2-3 Tampines (S.League, Nov '15)
- Tampines 3-0 Home (S.League, May '15)
- Home 2-0 Tampines (S.League, Mar '15)
- Home 0-1 Tampines (S.League, Oct '14)
- Home 2-2 Tampines (S.League, May '14)
The Protectors can also boast of Ken Ilso, a former Bochum and Duesseldorf forward more than capable of matching Pennant in terms of flair.
Tampines will come into this match full of confidence, after hitting in eight goals in their last two match.
Nothing but maximum points should be their target, as it will allow the Stags to keep pace with early-season league leaders Albirex Niigata (S), who are ahead by three points.
On the other hand, Aw will be desperate for his side to earn their first win of the season as soon as possible to avoid a similar scenario to last season, when his side’s poor start saw them finishing in a disappointing sixth place.
Home’s full-back Ang Zhiwei will continue his road to recovery and he is joined on the treatment table by Prime League midfielder Mahathir Azeman.
The Protectors will also be bereft of R. Aaravin’s services, as the youngster picked up an injury too.
This means Shahrin Saberin should continue to start alongside Abdil Qaiyyim in the centre of defence.
Tampines have a fully fit squad to choose from and V.Sundramoorthy might rotate his squad to give some of them a breather in order to keep them fresh for the AFC Cup clash with Selangor next Tuesday.
Key Battle: Abdil Qaiyyim vs Billy Mehmet
Mehmet will be leading the front line and his hold-up play has been superb so far. This is the reason those playing alongside him has been able to thrive, as he provides them with the opportunity to run into space.
But when the striker faces Abdil, things should not be that simple. Abdil is a no-nonsense defender who has grown much in his last season and he should know how to handle a forward of Mehmet’s stature.
If Abdil is able to stop Mehmet, Tampines might not find it that easy to make forays into Home’s final third.
- Tampines 4-1 Hougang United (S.League)
- Tampines 4-0 Sheikh Jamal (AFC Cup)
- Tampines 3-3 Geylang International (S.League)
- Albirex Niigata (S) 1-1 Tampines (Friendly)
- Mohun Bagan 3-1 Tampines (ACL Qualifiers)
Developing youth prospects has been central to Aw’s plan and this has not changed in any way since he took over from Lee Lim Saeng as the Protectors’ coach.
Young players will always be given the chance to shine, as the likes of Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi can attest to.
Sundram on the other hand has now leaned towards experience in hopes of ending Tampines’ silverware drought.
While Christopher Van Huizen and Saifullah Akbar are part of the Stags, they have been given limited opportunities so far.
Facts and Figures
A total of 12 former LionsXII players might actually take to the field in this match
Since the start of their 2016 campaign, Tampines have scored an average of three goals per game
Home United 2 Tampines Rovers 1. The Protectors are yet to demonstrate their maximum capabilities but if they do then a victory is within their reach.