S.League 2017 Good & Bad: A promising season being overshadowed
Albirex and Warriors still going strong
Five games played, four wins, a draw and 13 goals scored – Albirex and Warriors FC have been in impressive, strikingly similar form this season, although the White Swans have a superior defensive record.
Along with Home United, neither side has tasted defeat this season in the league and judging by their latest actions, it will take some doing for that to change.
Albirex were rarely made to sweat in their 2-0 win over Hougang United, with Tsubasa Sano and Hiroyoshi Kamata in particular impressing for the Japanese side. With a defence that has only been breached three times this season, it could be some time before we see the defending champions lose.
The Warriors meanwhile are a free-scoring machine at the moment and followed up last week’s 4-3 win over the Young Lions with a 5-3 triumph over Brunei DPMM at Bandar Seri Begawan stadium on Saturday evening.
A side packed with star names like Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak, could this be the year Warriors clinch their 10th S.League title?
Looking at the immediate future, which of Home United, Albirex and Warriors will be the first to taste defeat in the league and who will go on the longer unbeaten run?
The answer will have a huge bearing on where the title goes at the end of the season. Not to Brunei – that at least seems clear after another hapless showing from Steve Kean’s side this week.
Joel Tshibamba and Ricardo Sendra
In last week’s column, FourFourTwo hailed the re-appearance of Tampines’ Ryutaro Megumi after his match-winning displays in their win over Geylang.
It was accompanied by a quip that the search party will now focus their efforts on locating other foreign signings like the Eagles’ Ricardo Sendra. Judging from this week’s display, Sendra is well and truly alive.
Although it was against the Young Lions, Sendra made the most of his first S.League start as his performance in the middle of the park helped his side to a 2-0 victory.
Registering his first 90 minutes since signing in the pre-season, the Argentine provided what his side had been missing all these weeks – creativity in the final third.
Another player who had been criticised in his first two performances was Joel Tshibamba. The Warriors’ Dutch-born forward had failed to score against Geylang and Tampines Rovers in consecutive matches and was then dropped from the starting 11 against the Young Lions.
But since then he has come good, netting three times in his last two appearances, with his latest a strike in the 5-3 win over DPMM.
Is this the start of better things to come from the duo?