Match Previews

Geylang International vs Hougang United: Cheetahs seek end to win-less run

S.League | Bedok Stadium | Sat 18 June | 8pm 

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Hougang’s bid to taste victory again.

The lowdown

Geylang Form

  • 15/06/16 Warriors FC 2-0 Geylang (S.League)
  • 27/05/16 Geylang 2-1 Warriors FC (SG Cup)
  • 20/05/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang (S.League)
  • 14/05/16 Balestier Khalsa 1-3 Geylang (S.League)
  • 05/05/16 Geylang 3-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)

Hougang Form

  • 15/06/16 Hougang 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • 10/06/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Hougang (S.League)
  • 26/05/16 Home United 2-1 Hougang (SG Cup)
  • 19/05/16 Hougang 1-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
  • 14/05/16 Brunei DPMM 3-2 Hougang (S.League)

Having each suffered defeat in their previous games, both Geylang International and Hougang United will be seeking a return to winning ways in this clash.

Conceding after just 58 seconds against Warriors FC proved to be a blow Geylang could not recover from in an eventual 2-0 loss, which meant a second consecutive league defeat after they had won three in a row before that.

The Eagles have lost just once in their last eight home games at Bedok though and will be relatively confident of at least putting in a better showing here.

Their opponents are much worse off in the form book, having failed to win any of their last seven games, including six in the league.

The Cheetahs lost their unbeaten home record this season to leaders Albirex Niigata (S) despite taking the lead and must be wondering what they need to do to regain that winning feeling.

They picked up just three points in that run and their season is starting to go pear-shaped, with their brief table-topping feat earlier in the season a distant memory now.

Defeat here will see Geylang displace them from fourth, although Hougang can perhaps draw some belief from their recent head-to-head record - they are unbeaten against the Bedok side in their last seven games.

In Fumiya Kogure, they also have a genuine top-class playmaker who can change the game at any time.

Team news

Apart from long-term injury victim Shahfiq Ghani, Geylang should have a complete squad at their disposal. New mid-season signing Mark Hartmann is still awaiting paperwork clearance at the time of writing and might not receive it in time.

Likewise, Hougang should have everyone available and any changes in both teams will likely be due to rotation.

Key Battle: Sahil Suhaimi vs Delwinder Singh

Sahil could do better in front of goal

If Hartmann is unavailable, Sahil Suhaimi is likely to be tasked with leading the line again for Geylang. The fleet-footed 23-year-old has the pace and skill to trouble any defence, but had a forgettable outing upfront last time out and the Eagles need him to be more of a presence here.

Hougang centre-back Delwinder Singh, who has performed decently this season, will have to keep a close eye on Sahil. The 23-year-old is starting to establish himself at the heart of defence and will have to lead his line well along with Wahyudi Wahid if they want to keep their first clean sheet in eight games.

The Coaches

Hasrin Jailani will be relatively contented with how his first season has gone so far, but will also recognise they can do better with the talent in the side.

The Eagles adopt a positive approach in most games but can struggle to impose themselves on proceedings at times and it feels like Hasrin has yet to find the perfect balance for the team.

His opposite number K. Balagumaran has also done well to achieve the sort of results he has from this Hougang side, particularly early on in the season, but his more immediate problem now is to get them to start winning again.

His team never goes down without a fight though and they were arguably unfortunate in some of their recent results - perhaps it’s time for their luck to change.

Past five meetings

  • 07/04/16 Hougang 3-1 Geylang (S.League)
  • 09/11/15 Geylang 2-2 Hougang (S.League)
  • 27/06/15 Hougang 2-2 Geylang (League Cup)
  • 19/05/15 Hougang 1-0 Geylang (S.League)
  • 12/03/15 Geylang 0-0 Hougang (S.League)

Facts and Figures

  • Hougang top scorer Stipe Plazibat has not scored from open play since March 19, with his subsequent four goals (in 10 games) coming from three penalties and one free-kick.

  • Hougang have scored a league-high six goals in the final ten minutes.

  • Hougang need just three more points to exceed their total tally from last season.

  • Geylang have not kept a clean sheet for 10 games.

  • Geylang have scored the opening goal in each of their last three meetings with Hougang.

  • Geylang’s joint-top scorer last season is current Hougang captain Jozef Kaplan.

FourFourTwo prediction

Hougang could well come away with a result here, although it will be close. 2-1 to the Cheetahs.

Photos: S.League