Warriors FC vs Tampines Rovers: Stags aim to extend winning streak

League Cup | Jalan Besar Stadium | Sun 17 Jul | 7.30pm 

Billed as

An opportunity for Tampines to seal their knock-out stage place.

The lowdown

Warriors Form

  • 13/07/16 Brunei DPMM 4-0 Warriors (League Cup)
  • 23/06/16 Hougang United 1-3 Warriors (League Cup)
  • 15/06/16 Warriors 2-0 Geylang International (S.League)
  • 10/06/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 Warriors (S.League)
  • 27/05/16 Geylang International 2-1 Warriors (Singapore Cup)

Tampines Form

  • 13/07/16 Tampines 6-4 Hougang United (League Cup)
  • 02/07/16 Global FC 1-2 Tampines (Singapore Cup)
  • 29/06/16 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Global (Singapore Cup)
  • 24/06/16 Tampines 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • 17/06/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-3 Tampines (S.League)

Warriors FC’s remaining hopes of silverware are in jeopardy following their 4-0 hammering by Brunei DPMM last time out, which leaves them with an uphill task to qualify from Group A in the TNP League Cup.

Floundering in the S.League and dumped out in the Singapore Cup, the uniformed giants have never won this tournament and need to avoid defeat here to have a chance of doing so.

It will be a tall order against Tampines Rovers, who have won their last eight games in all competitions, including all seven under new head coach Akbar Nawas.

The Stags, who have not tasted glory in this Cup either, will be keen to seal their spot in the next stage as soon as possible as they continue their quest to challenge on four fronts this season.

Their 6-4 blitz of Hougang United in their opening game means that Tampines have scored a whopping 25 times in their last seven matches and they will look to blow away the Warriors again here.

However, they will have to tighten up a rearguard that has leaked some sloppy goals of late in order to avoid a nasty surprise.

Team News

Defenders Hafiz Osman and Shaiful Esah return from suspension for the Warriors, but first-choice goalkeeper Yazid Yasin and star striker Jonathan Behe are injury doubts.

Playmaker Shahdan Sulaiman, who made his return from injury in the previous game, is once again back on the treatment table with a fractured ankle. Sufian Anuar and Jermaine Pennant should be sidelined with injury as well.

Both teams are also missing six (Tampines) and two (Warriors) senior national team players. This will hit the Stags especially hard - only five substitutes were fielded against Hougang, all Prime League players - and they could be in trouble if their starters suffer further problems.

Key Battle: Jordan Webb vs Poh Yi Feng

Pennant should be missing due to injury

In the absence of Shahdan, Akbar is likely to shift Webb into a more central attacking role behind the main striker.

The fleet-footed Webb is a nightmare for any defence when he is on fire, with his pace and trickery being big assets in his ability to beat men. The 28-year-old tormented the Hougang back-line, scoring once and setting up another, and he will be a crucial figure in a depleted Tampines side.

The Canadian should come up against Poh, who performs midfield hardman duties for Warriors. The 29-year-old possesses a no-nonsense attitude and takes no prisoners as he shields his back-four, but he will have to watch his tackling against the skillful Webb.

The Coaches

Razif Onn is a keen tactician who often ponders overs his team’s strategies as well as the opponent’s and he will do well to find a way to exploit Tampines’ defensive frailties while keeping their own house in order.

His opposite number, Akbar, is riding high with a 100 per cent record and his penchant for letting his side attack at will is unlikely to change.

Last Five Meetings

  • Warriors 0-0 Tampines (S.League, May 16’)
  • Tampines 4-2 Warriors (S.League, Apr 16’)
  • Tampines 0-0 Warriors (S.League, Nov 15’)
  • Warriors 2-1 Tampines (S.League, Aug 15’)
  • Warriors 1-0 Tampines (League Cup, Jul 15’)

Facts and Figures

  • Warriors’ second-top scorer after 11-goal Behe is Nikola Rak, who has plundered three goals.

  • Remarkably, Warriors have beaten Tampines in all five previous times they have met in the Cup competitions (two Singapore Cup, three League Cup).

  • Warriors have lost 12 of their last 15 games in both Cups.

  • Both teams have kept the same number of clean sheets (four) in all competitions so far.

  • Tampines have the most number of different scorers (13) amongst all teams this season.

FourFourTwo Prediction

Tampines might just be more affected than expected by their absences and with the Warriors surely keen to put up a better showing, their winning run could end. 2-2.