Tampines Rovers vs Brunei DPMM: Happy homecoming for Stags?

S.League | Tampines Stadium | Fri 28 Jul | 7.30pm  

BILLED AS

Tampines’ long overdue homecoming to Tampines Stadium.

THE LOWDOWN

There has been some interest generated by Tampines Rovers, as they return to their home ground for the first time since 2012.

The spanking new Tampines Stadium will host its first game on Friday, with Brunei DPMM being the first opponents to pay the venue a visit.

Tampines will be hoping that they can turn the place into a fortress of sorts, as they look to keep up with runaway league leaders Albirex Niigata (S), who have 34 points and are six ahead of the Stags.

Brunei thought they have turned the corner after a good League Cup run, but it appeared to be a false dawn as they suffered their 10th defeat of the season in a 1-0 loss to Geylang International.

The Bruneians have only a meagre four points so far, a far cry from the 2015 season when they were challenging for silverware and won the league.

DPMM may have beaten Tampines 5-1 recently in the League Cup, but this will be a different game altogether as Jurgen Raab had sent out a team filled with many fringe players then.

TEAM NEWS

Daud Gazale has returned to fitness but his strike partner Rafael Ramazotti is still out.

Defender Vincent Reyes also missed the game against Geylang, meaning DPMM will only be able to field one foreigner for this game.

For the Stags, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud is probably still out and Joey Sim, who deputised for him in recent games, seems set to continue in goal.

KEY BATTLE: Daniel Bennett vs Adi Said

Honestly, Adi Said is a pretty effective attacker. Like his brother Shahrazen, Adi possesses bag of speed and he has a potent shot too.

Adi already showed what he was capable of in the League Cup and it’s time he showed Steve Kean that he is worthy of a place in the starting 11.

Daniel Bennett has had a good season so far but it will be interesting to see how he copes with the speedy attacker.

The veteran defender will need to count on his experience to help him out of difficult situations.

THE COACHES

Steve Kean has had a selection dilemma this season, with injuries robbing him of his best players and disrupting his side’s momentum.

His situation has not changed one bit and he might be looking to just earn a point in this game by having his team sit deeper.

For Tampines, it is obvious their priority is to land the S.League title. Jurgen Raab gave several first-teamers a break during the League Cup and he will definitely be fielding the likes of Shahdan Sulaiman and Daniel Bennett upon resumption of the Stags' league campaign.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Brunei DPMM have only one league win to their name this season. They have lost eight of their last nine games, bar a 0-0 draw with Young Lions
  • Tampines are on a four-game unbeaten run in the S.League
  • Brunei have never finished in the bottom two of the league, but that threat looks very real this season

FOURFOURTWO PREDICTION

Tampines will be kicking themselves if they don’t claim a win here. A 3-1 win for the Stags.

Photos: S.League