Brunei DPMM vs Warriors FC: Can Warriors hold off a rejuvenated DPMM?
A stage which Brunei DPMM are all too familiar with.
The group stages are finally over and after playing in a difficult group, Warriors FC managed to pip Hougang United to second place in Group A.
For their endeavours, Warriors FC have been rewarded with a date with Brunei DPMM, group-toppers in Group B.
DPMM have always excelled in the League Cup, as history will show. They have already contested in five of the ten finals played, winning three of them.
This experience should stand them in good stead, as they look to reach the final again and hopefully go one better this season, after losing 2-0 to Albirex Niigata (S) last year.
DPMM have been in free-scoring form for this tournament but their defensive fragilities still remain, as can be seen in their 3-3 draw with Geylang International.
But the Wasps should still be the more confident team of the two sides, as the Warriors barely made it out of Group A after attaining a win, a draw and a loss there.
Warriors will miss Hyrulnizam Juma’at’s services as he serves a one-game suspension and Mukundan Maran will most likely replace him in goal.
At the other camp, Nurikhwan Othman will miss out too due to suspension. Strikers Rafael Ramazotti and Daud Jared Alvarez are both still working their way back towards fitness and coach Steve Kean has already said he will not look to rush them back.
Najib Tarif is available for selection once again too, after he served a one-game ban against Geylang International.
KEY BATTLE: Adi Said vs Kento Fukuda
Adi Said has hit form at the right time, especially after DPMM lost Ramazotti and new signing Daud Jared Alvarez to injury.
The striker is the current joint-top scorer in the competition with three goals and he will be hoping to add to his tally.
It is unclear which back four will turn out for Warriors, with the likes of Baihakki Khaizan sitting out on the last few matches, but centre-back Kento Fukuda is a certainty to start.
The defender has stamped his mark as one of the best defenders in the league and he will look to keep Adi quiet.
Will Warriors FC head coach Razif Onn throw caution to the wind and instruct his team to attack relentlessly?
Considering how the Warriors have not been the tightest team around, that could very well be the game plan.
On the other hand, it is clear DPMM coach Kean intends to take the game to Warriors.
He recently said that his squad has been in good form and he will not be looking to make much changes — not to a squad that has scored 11 goals in the competition so far.
FACTS AND FIGURES
A foreign team has made the League Cup for nine successive season.
Warriors have never won the League Cup, although they were edged by Brunei DPMM on penalties in the 2009 final.
- Several players who played in and won the 2009 final, including Wardun Yusoff, Azwan Saleh, Rosmin Kamis, Shahrazen Said, Maududi Hilmi, are still turning out for the Wasps.
- Warriors' Hafiz Osman too featured in that game, eight years ago.
A high scoring game is possible with both teams seemingly able to score at will. A 2-2 draw seems most likely.