Tampines Rovers vs Home United: Who’s the best local team?
A clash among the title contenders.
Tampines Rovers Form
Tampines 4-2 Ceres-Negros (AFC Cup)
Brunei DPMM 0-1 Tampines (S.League)
Tampines 1-0 Young Lions (S.League)
Felda United 1-3 Tampines (AFC Cup)
Tampines 4-0 Geylang International (S.League)
Home United Form
Home 1-0 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
Home 3-0 Geylang International (S.League)
Warriors FC 2-2 Home (S.League)
Home 4-1 Yadanarbon FC (S.League)
Hougang United 0-2 Home (S.League)
Just this time last year, Tampines Rovers and Home United were both scheduled to play each other.
Back then, Tampines just made it to the next round of the AFC Cup by the skin of their teeth after beating Selangor in their final group game, while Home were simply looking to break into the top three of the S.League.
The Stags went into the game high on morale but were eventually edged out 2-1 by the Protectors.
This time round, Tampines will hope they can return the favour, as a confident Home look to stretch their unbeaten run in the league after qualifying for the next stage of the AFC Cup.
The Stags will have to pick themselves up for this game, as they come into it on the back of a morale-sapping 4-2 defeat to Ceres-Negros.
Not only did the defeat come on home ground, but it also ended Tampines’ ambition of playing in the AFC Cup Asean zone semi-finals.
The Protectors will need to be wary though — Tampines were on a four-game winning streak prior to the loss to Ceres and they have the best defence in the league after conceding only four goals in seven games.
A win for the Stags will also allow them to overtake Home in the standings and go up to second.
The good news for Tampines is that Home have a host of players who are struggling to be fit for this game.
Home’s foreign trio Stipe Plazibat, Song Ui Young and Sirina Camara pulled out of the Sultan Of Selangor’s (SOS) Cup squad last week due to injuries, while Adam Swandi, Christopher Van Huizen and Khairul Nizam’s availability are also in doubt.
Tampines have had their issues with players’ availability too this season but the likes of Khairul Amri and Madhu Mohana are likely to be involved in the game.
Amri came off the bench in the recent SOS Cup for the Singapore Selection side while Madhu made a return from injury in the game against Ceres.
Key Battle: Shakir Hamzah vs Faris Ramli
Shakir missed the start of the season and only returned to action recently, but he wasted little time in getting back to form.
The defender will need to be on his toes as he will come up one of the most in-form players in the league at the moment: Faris Ramli.
While Plazibat have been scoring the goals for Home this season, Faris has lighted the league with his mazy runs and intelligent passes
Without the winger distracting and tormenting defenders so much, Plazibat might not enjoy the space and chances that have come his way.
Jurgen Raab will be bitterly disappointed he could not help the Stags reach the next stage of the AFC Cup in his first year in charge.
But he is fairly confident his charges are a competitive enough for the S.League at least, when he has a full squad to choose from.
Raab also encourages his team to play an attacking game, which indicate this game might throw up plenty of goals as his counterpart Aidil Sharin too advocates the same thing.
Facts and Figures
Past five meetings
Home 1-0 Tampines (S.League, Sep 16’)
Tampines 1-2 Home (S.League, May ‘16)
Home 1-1 Tampines (S.League, Mar ‘16)
Home 2-3 Tampines (S.League, Nov ‘15)
Tampines 3-0 Home (S.League, May ‘15)
Tampines have the best defence in the league, with only four goals conceded in seven games.
Home are the second highest goal-scoring team in the league, with 19 in seven games.
Home have not enjoyed such good form in the league since 2015, when they went 10 games without defeat.
The Stags failed to beat Home in all their matches last year.
Tough call but Home can pull off a big win here. 2-1 to the Protectors.