S.League | Choa Chu Kang Stadium | Fri 4 Mar | 7:30pm
The veterans against the youngsters
Based on logic, the more experienced team should be strolling to a victory here.
But the reality is that Warriors are yet to win a game this season, while their opponents have three points on board already.
In fact, the nine-time S.League champions have not won their last six league fixtures, with their last victory in October last year.
- Brunei DPMM 3-1 Warriors (S.League)
- Home United 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
- Warriors 6-2 Garena Young Lions (Friendly)
- Hougang United 2-3 Warriors (Friendly)
- Albirex Niigata (S) 0-2 Warriors (Friendly)
It was supposed to be a new start for them following a disastrous 2015 campaign, but so far, they have yet to deliver. Home United outplayed them in the first match of the season but the Warriors somehow came back to earn a point, before their defence were torn to shreds by Brunei DPMM in the 3-1 defeat last week.
Still, the match against Young Lions represents the best chance for Warriors to get their season back on track.
After a shock 1-0 victory over Balestier Khalsa, the Under-21 side have flattered to deceive.
A 5-0 trouncing at the hands of Albirex Niigata (S) in their second match of the season was followed by a 2-0 defeat against Geylang International, and in both games they hardly had a sniff at goal.
However, there is still hope for the Young Lions. After all, they did record two wins against Warriors last year.
But when it comes to head-to-head, Warriors have the upper hand as the Young Lions have only won seven times in the last 20 meetings between both sides.
Warriors will be missing Madhu Mohana, who will be serving the second of his two-match suspension after receiving a straight red against Home United.
Ismail Yunos is still out with injury so Hafiz Osman is expected to continue at right-back, with Syaqir Sulaiman filling in at centre-back alongside Kento Fukuda.
Shaiful Esah has recovered from injury and made an appearance from the bench against DPMM, but he won’t be rushed back into the starting line-up just yet.
The Garena Young Lions will be missing captain Khairul Amri once again, along with Ashrul Syafeeq and Joshua Pereira.
Apart from the trio, everyone else should be available for selection.
- GYL 0-2 Geylang International (S.League)
- GYL 0-5 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
- GYL 1-0 Balestier Khalsa(S.League)
- GYL 2-6 Warriors FC (Friendly)
- Hougang United 4-2 GYL (Friendly)
Key Battle: Firdaus Kasman vs Poh Yi Feng
It should be an intriguing battle in midfield between two experienced heads.
With Amri out, Firdaus Kasman is the most senior player and will be relied upon once again to get his younger teammates going.
On his day, he is capable of dominating the midfield and running the show by making defence splitting passes, or providing the occasional powerful shots from range.
It will be up to Poh Yi Feng, who has been deployed as the deepest-lying midfielder in the Warriors engine room so far, to shut down the former LionsXII and Tampines man.
The one-time Singapore international is often the unsung hero, doing the dirty work by shielding the back four. Always full of running, it is not hard to see why.
Last Five Meetings
- GYL 2-1 Warriors Oct ’15
- Warriors 0-2 GYL Jul ’15
- GYL 1-2 Warriors Apr ’15
- Warriors 4-1 GYL Aug ’14
- GYL 2-3 Warriors Apr ’14
Despite the defeat to DPMM, Warriors coach Jorg Steinebrunner still saw enough positivity in his side’s performance, particularly with the way they responded in the second half.
While they created a ton of chances, they failed to convert it.
Against the perceived weaklings of the league, it will be interesting to see if the Germans decides to opt for a more attacking 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, instead of sticking with his usual 4-5-1 formation.
On the other hand, newly-installed Young Lions coach Patrick Hesse is still getting to know his squad after officially taking over in the second week of the season.
Don’t be surprised if the Young Lions team sheet shows a number of changes on game-day.
Fact and Figures
The league’s highest-scoring draw was recorded when Warriors and Young Lions drew 6-6 on April 15, 2004 at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. Incidentally, current Young Lions captain Khairul Amri was among the scorers that day, scoring his side’s fifth goal in the 87th minute.
Out of the four different goalscorers for the Young Lions last year in games against Warriors, only Adam Swandi remains at the club.
The Young Lions have only defeated Warriors at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on two occasions – a 5-0 thrashing of Warriors in August 2004, and last year’s 2-0 victory in July.
Warriors have won just twice in their last seven matches at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
Six of the Young Lions’ seven wins in 2015 came when they were the visiting side.
Warriors 4-0 Young Lions. Following the pre-season result between both sides and GYL's form in the last two games, there is no way to look at this but a win for the Warriors.
Photo by: S.League