Hanoi vs Tampines Rovers: Can Stags avoid third straight defeat
A game Tampines cannot afford to lose if they want to stay in the AFC Cup.
Tampines Rovers Form
- Tampines 0-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
Hanoi 4-0 Tampines (AFC Cup)
Balestier 0-1 Tampines (S.League)
Ceres 5-0 Tampines (AFC Cup)
Tampines 2-1 Hougang United (S.League)
It has been a tiring three months for Tampines, as they struggle to cope with the rigours of the S.League and AFC Cup.
While some players managed to gain some resting time during the international break, six Tampines key players were still involved in Singapore’s gruelling 0-0 draw with Bahrain.
The Stags’ fatigue showed over the weekends, as they crashed to a 1-0 defeat by Warriors.
But while they may be crying out for a breather, the Stags will not get a chance to rest as they play Hanoi just three days after the game with Warriors.
A loss here will all but end Tampines’ hopes of qualifying for the next round, with them only having three points to show for after three games played. Only the group winners and best runner-ups in the zone can qualify for the next round.
Hanoi are in second place with five points and they already proved they will be tough opponents to beat after a 4-0 whooping of the Stags.
- Long An 1-5 Hanoi (V-League)
- Hanoi 2-1 FLC Thanh Hoa (V-League)
- Hanoi 4-0 Tampines (AFC Cup)
- Felda United 1-1 Hanoi (AFC Cup)
- Saigon 0-0 Hanoi (V-League)
Tampines coach Juergen Raab will have a huge decision to make for this game, with the likes of Daniel Bennett and Khairul Amri picking up knocks while on international duty.
Defender Shakir Hamzah has returned from injury and he played his part in Singapore’s 0-0 draw with Bahrain but he is still not at full match fitness.
Midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman made his first start against Warriors on Saturday and could be in line for a start.
Hanoi should have a full strength team to call upon, with captain Gonzalo Damian Marronkle returning recently from injury.
Key Battle: Ivan Dzoni vs Nguyen Van Cong
Tampines desperately need goals to win this game and it’s high time their foreign import Ivan Dzoni stepped up and be counted.
Much was expected of Dzoni this season but so far he has arguably failed to live up to expectations on the regional stage.
Nguyen Van Cong may not be a national player for Vietnam but he is still a good shot stopper.
The custodian was barely tested in the last game against Tampines and the Stags will hope to put him under more pressure this time.
Raab will have plenty to ponder about, especially since Khairul Amri might miss this game due to injury.
He also needs to decide whether to go for an attacking line-up, as a win is hugely vital to his side’s chance of making out of the group stages.
Coach Chu Dinh Nghiem on the other hand can decide if he wants to play it safe on unfamiliar grounds.
Considering how hugely successful his team was on home ground, Dinh Nghiem should probably stick to his tested and proven 4-1-4-1 formation.
Facts and Figures
- Hanoi 4-0 Tampines (AFC Cup, Mar ‘17)
- Tampines 3-1 Hanoi (AFC Cup, April ‘11)
- Hanoi 1-1 Tampines (AFC Cup, April ‘11)
- Tampines have not won back-to-back games at all this season, with a loss following a win in all their games.
- Tampines have not scored in their last two AFC Cup games.
- Hanoi have shrugged off their run of six straight draws, with the win against Tampines the beginning of a three-game winning streak.
Tampines were outclassed by Hanoi last time out but playing at home should be a different ball game. A 1-1 draw could be a likely outcome.