Match Previews

Warriors FC vs Tampines Rovers: Can things get any worse for Warriors?

S.League | Choa Chu Kang Stadium | Tue 17 May | 7.30pm 

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Tampines Rovers' chance to bounce back and give Warriors FC more grief

The lowdown

Warriors FC form

  • Garena Young Lions 3-1 Warriors (S.League)
  • Warriors 1-1 Brunei DPMM (S.League)
  • Tampines Rovers 4-2 Warriors (S.League)
  • Warriors 1-2 Home United (S.League)
  • Warriors 0-1 Hougang United (S.League)

Tampines Rovers form

  • Tampines 1-2 Home United (S.League)
  • Tampines 1-0 Selangor FA (AFC Cup)
  • Hougang United 1-1 Tampines (S.League)
  • Tampines 4-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Sheikh Jamal 3-2 Tampines (AFC Cup)

Who would have thought that this game would be played with a different coach in the Warriors dugout?

Both sides just met barely two weeks ago, but as it transpired, a series of poor results and underwhelming performances have resulted in coach Jorg Steinebrunner’s resignation, which was announced by the club on Saturday.

The coach’s departure does not come as a surprise though; four defeats in the last five games have left the nine-time S.League winners third from bottom in the league table.

Their woes this season were compounded by a 3-1 defeat to the weakest side in the league, Garena Young Lions, in Steinebrunner’s last game in charge.

Razif Onn, Warriors’ Prime League and long-time youth coach has been handed the reigns on a temporary basis. His first game as head coach will not be an easy one however.

The Stags are hurting from a defeat to Home United, which left them five points behind league leaders Albirex Niigata (S).

Coach V. Sundramoorthy pointed out that his charges went to sleep after taking the lead, which allowed Home to turn the game around.

While five points at this stage of the season is still manageable, they can ill-afford to drop yet more points and fall further behind.

The Warriors appear ripe for the taking, especially with the turmoil behind the scenes.

However, it is also a fact that the Stags are playing their third game in eight days and fatigue may well be a factor.

Team News

Jordan Webb is back from injury and made an appearance from the bench the last time out, while Jermaine Pennant should be fit and gunning to go.

However, Shahdan Sulaiman, who sustained a leg injury in the match against Selangor FA, will continue to sit out.

As for the Warriors, they have no real concerns apart from Shaiful Esah. Yazid Yasin is back from suspension after being sent off in the 4-2 loss to Tampines and will most likely reclaim his spot in between the posts.

Key Battle: Jonathan Behe vs Fahrudin Mustafic

Behe is vital in helping Warriors get back on their feet

Jonathan Behe is Warriors’ top scorer this year with eight goal and he has the capability to trouble the Tampines backline.

The striker possesses bags of pace and agility that is usually not associated with players of his physique, while his movement off the ball makes him harder to track.

However, he has to be more clinical; far too often, he is guilty of spurning chances, especially easy ones.

For Tampines, Fahrudin Mustafic will most likely be handed the task of keeping the French striker quiet.

The veteran had an intriguing battle with Ken Ilso the last time out, although it was the Dane who came out tops eventually.

Against Behe, the former Singapore international will be keen to put in a better shift.

The Coaches

While he was an exciting forward during his playing days, V. Sundramoorthy tends to favour the defensive strategy as a coach, as long as it earns him a result.

However in recent weeks, Sundram’s charges are playing a more expansive game in attack.

As for Razif Onn, it will be the second time he will be handed the reins on a temporary basis.

He took charge for the last five matches last season, after Alex Weaver left the club and replacement Karim Bencherifa did not receive the necessary clearance to commence work.

In those five matches, the club lost three matches and won just once.

Given that the squad is fairly different compared to last year’s team, it remains to be seen how he will fare.

Last Five Meetings

  • Tampines Rovers 4-2 Warriors (S.League 16’)
  • Tampines Rovers 0-0 Warriors (S.League 15’)
  • Warriors 2-1 Tampines Rovers (League Cup 15’)
  • Warriors 1-0 Tampines Rovers (League Cup 15’)
  • Tampines Rovers 2-3 Warriors (S.League 15’)

Facts and Figures

Tampines Rovers have lost the last three matches against Warriors FC at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. Their last victory was in March 2013, when Khairul Amri struck to give the Stags a 1-0 win.

After going seven games without a defeat at the start of the season, Tampines have now lost twice in five games

Tampines enjoyed 60% of ball possession in their last match against Warriors in April, completing 488 passes, compared to just 266 passes for Warriors.

Both sides have met 33 times in the last decade. Warriors have the upperhand with 15 wins, while Tampines have 11 victories.

FFT’s Prediction

Warriors FC 1-2 Tampines Rovers. It’s hard to look past anything but a victory for Tampines, especially at this point in time when the Warriors are having problems behind the scene.

Photos: S.League