Warriors FC will aim to prevent Albirex Niigata FC from becoming the first side to go an entire Singapore Premier League (SPL) season unbeaten when they host them on Saturday, September 29, at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
Can Warriors prevent Albirex from going unbeaten in the league? That will be the question when Warriors take to the pitch against Albirex on Saturday.
Only three teams – Balestier Khalsa, Home United and Hougang United have avoided defeat against the dominant White Swans this season. No teams have gone the entire season unbeaten and the Japanese side are on the verge of breaking another record having sewn up the league title in August.
A defeat may see them slip down to sixth spot if Balestier win their match against Brunei DPMM as well, which would be a disappointment for the Warriors, especially after the team had bounced back from their early season woes and were at one stage in the running for the third spot as well.
The odds are stacked against the Warriors though. They are currently on a streak of six straight defeats against Albirex, with their last win coming two years ago in September 2016.
They will also be missing two key players in Ho Wai Loon and Emmeric Ong due to suspension.
“Honestly, it will be a tough match against them, no doubt about it,” said Warriors midfielder Ammirul Emmran.
“There’s a slight worry on (dropping to sixth). That’s why against Albirex all of the players know that we have to win or at least draw. We know we can’t afford to lose.
“We know that we have to run non-stop for the whole game until the final whistle because this Albirex team always have the ball in possession & also their passing game. Also very dangerous in their final pass. We have to be focus on that and most importantly we can’t let them score. If we manage to do that, a higher chance of us to go for the win.”
That said, Albirex are coming into this game just two days after a bruising encounter in the Singapore Cup semi-final first leg, which they won 3-2. With all to play for in the second leg next Wednesday, it may be interesting to see if the White Swans opt to rest some of their players as they aim to sweep up all trophies on offer once again.
Both key men Kenya Takahashi and Shuhei Hoshino will return to the side after being suspended in the Singapore Cup semi-final tie against Home.
As for Warriors, Ho and Ong are suspended. Top scorer Johnathan Behe should return to the side, having missed the defeat to Home United for personal reasons.
08/07/18: Albirex 2-0 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
13/05/18: Warriors 1-2 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
03/11/17: Albirex 5-1 Warriors – Singapore Premier League
29/07/17: Warriors 1-2 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
21/07/17: Albirex 1-0 Warriors – League Cup
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Adam Swandi (Albirex)
The forward has been one of the outstanding players in the league and has hit a couple of crucial goals in Albirex’s last two matches.
Khairul Nizam (Warriors)
The robust forward seem to be getting into groove, just in time for the Suzuki Cup in November. In his last couple of games, he has two goals and one assist, and led the frontline with aplomb against Home as well. With Behe back, it is expected for Nizam to move out wide again though.