Hanoi vs Tampines Rovers: Will Stags buck trend and earn first consecutive victory

AFC Cup | My Dinh National Stadium | Wed Mar 15 | 6pm (7pm Singapore time)  

Billed as:

A chance for Tampines to get back on track

The Lowdown:

Tampines Rovers Form

  • Tampines 2-1 Hougang United (S.League)

  • Tampines 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League/Community Shield)

  • Tampines 2-1 Felda United (AFC Cup)

  • Global FC 2-0 Tampines (AFC Champions League playoffs)

  • Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Tampines (SG Cup Final)

Hanoi Form

  • Felda United 1-1 Hanoi (AFC Cup)
  • Saigon 0-0 Hanoi (V-League)
  • Hanoi 0-0 Binh Duong (V-League)
  • Hanoi 1-1 Ceres (AFC Cup)
  • Hai Phong 1-1 Hanoi (V-League)

Tampines will be hoping they can turn around their fortunes and record their first successive win of the season when they face Hanoi.

The Stags have been erratic form since their season began with a 2-0 loss to Global FC in the AFC Champions League preliminary round.

Since then, a loss has followed every win they earned and Tampines will hope this does not happen again when they face Hanoi, especially after beating Balestier Khalsa 1-0 in the S.League.

Tampines are looking to get back on track too after a demoralising 5-0 defeat by Ceres-Negros in the second group game. Although they are still in second spot with three points, Hanoi trail them by only a mere point after being held to 1-1 draws in their respective games so far.

Hanoi will come into this match fresh, after their last match came against Felda a week ago.

The Vietnamese side is struggling in their own league so far, sitting in sixth spot after eight games played. Their inability to hit the back of the net has cost them points, with six successive draws to show of.

But Tampines should not be under any illusion that this is going to be an easy game, on the contrary, this statistic indicates Hanoi are tough opponents to beat and will not go down without a fight.

Team News:

Tampines as always can call up their AFC Cup duo of Raspreet Sandhu and Sahil Suhaimi.

Both players have not seen much action but coach Juergen Raab might be inclined to give them more playing time and give his key players some rest, especially since this will be the Stags’ fourth game in 12 days.

Shahdan Sulaiman appears to have recovered from his calf injury, after being name on the bench against Balestier and his presence will inject much-needed creativity into Raab’s side.

On Hanoi T&T’s end, Alvaro Silva Linares missed out on the last game against Felda but he should be set for a return.

Naturalised striker Hoang Vu Samson was also injured in the last game but his match fitness is a suspect since he was suspended for six games in the domestic league.

Captain Gonzalo Damian Marronkle recently returned from injury and his playmaking skills will be essential for Hanoi to end their run of draws.

Key Battle: Nguyen Quang Hai vs Madhu Mohana

In Samson’s absence, will Hanoi unleash young 19-year-old Nguyen Quang Hai to lead the lines and score the goals?

Despite his age, Quang Hai has been knocking in the goals on the domestic front. The pacey forward can trouble Tampines’ backline, which was torn to shreds by Ceres in their last game.

For Tampines to record their first back-to-back victory, captain Madhu must step up and be counted.

He needs to cover his defensive partners and get the team going, especially when things are not in the Stags’ favour.

Madhu should be relatively fresh for this tie, as he sat out Tampines’ last game.

The Coaches:

Juergen Raab will need to consider whether he should return to the 4-4-2 formation that served him so well in the 2-1 win over Hougang United.

Mustafic Fahrudin and Daniel Bennett are very experienced defenders, but their lack of pace could allow Hanoi’s forward to run riot.

Fahrudin could instead play in a deep lying midfield role to protect the back four, instead of being a part of the three-man defence.

Coach Chu Dinh Nghiem favours a 4-1-4-1 formation, which switches to 4-3-3 when his side is in attack. There seems no reason why he would alternate from this tactic.

Facts and Figures

Past Meetings

  • Tampines 3-1 Hanoi (AFC Cup, April ‘11)
  • Hanoi 1-1 Tampines (AFC Cup, April ‘11)

  • Hanoi are on a run of six successive draws, during this run they have also failed to score more than a goal per game
  • Tampines have not won back-to-back games at all this season, with a loss following a win in all their games.
  • Both sides last met in 2011 in an AFC Cup fixture, with Hanoi holding Tampines to a 1-1 draw.
  • Nguyen Van Quyet, who scored against Tampines in 2011 as a 19-year-old, is still with the club.
  • Ivan Dzoni has missed all his efforts from the spot-kick so far.

FourFourTwo’s Prediction

Hanoi are fresh and the Stags are having to cope with a hectic schedule, so the hosts could walk away with a slender 1-0 victory.
Photos: S.League