Stags Keen For Revenge Against Warriors
Warriors FC vs Tampines Rovers
(22 June, Thursday, 8.30pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Tampines Rovers will be looking to close the gap at the top of the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League when they make the trip to the Choa Chu Kang Stadium to face Warriors FC on Thursday night.
The Stags recovered from a heavy 4-1 defeat to leaders Albirex Niigata (S) last month with back-to-back wins over Hougang United (3-0) and Balestier Khalsa (3-1) to keep up the pressure on the White Swans.
Currently sitting in second spot, victory for Jurgen Raab’s side would cut the lead at the top to four points should Albirex fall to Home United on Friday and Tampines midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman believes this should be enough motivation for the Stags.
“Being able to reduce the lead at the top is of course a motivation for us,” said the 29-year-old.
“The morale in the team has always been good and it was nice to continue our winning momentum (against Balestier) after the international break.
“But having said that, we are taking it a game at a time and I believe we should focus on ourselves rather than the other teams in the league.”
On the same note, Warriors will move within a point of Tampines in the standings and Shahdan is aware of what’s at stake.
“It is definitely going to be a tough game against a team with players who have a wealth of experience,” he noted.
“For example, they have players like Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan and Shaiful Esah just to name a few. That said, they will also be gunning for all three points to try climb above us and we have to be on our toes throughout the game.”
With more than a third of the season already gone, Shahdan is pleased with what he has seen from the team so far but insists they cannot rest on their laurels. “While the team has performed decently so far, there will always be room for improvement,” he said.
“Hopefully we can keep on improving as the season goes on and keep up our challenge for the title.”
Having fallen 1-0 at home to Warriors in their first meeting this season, Shahdan says the team is determined to not let the same thing happen this time round.
“Of course the defeat will be on the back of our minds,” he said matter-of-factly.
“But we want to put in a better performance as we didn’t do well against them in the first round. Not only did we lose, it just wasn’t a good outing for us that day.”
Defender Shakir Hamzah will return from a two-match suspension and looks set to be reinstated into the starting line-up while it remains to be seen if Hafiz Sujad and Fazrul Nawaz will play a part in this match.
Warriors FC - LLWLW
16/06/17 Geylang International 0-2 Warriors FC
29/05/17 Warriors FC 1-4 Boeung Ket FC (CAM) (RHB Singapore Cup)
19/05/17 Warriors FC 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
11/05/17 Warriors FC 0-2 Hougang United
29/04/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Warriors FC
Tampines Rovers - LWLWW
17/06/17 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa
25/05/17 Hougang United 0-3 Tampines Rovers
21/05/17 Tampines Rovers 1-4 Albirex Niigata (S)
12/05/17 Tampines Rovers 3-2 Home United
03/05/17 Tampines Rovers 2-4 Ceres-Negros FC (AFC Cup)
Head to Head (S.League)
01/04/17 Tampines Rovers 0-1 Warriors FC
12/08/16 Warriors FC 2-3 Tampines Rovers
17/05/16 Warriors FC 0-0 Tampines Rovers
30/04/16 Tampines Rovers 4-2 Warriors FC
02/11/15 Tampines Rovers 0-0 Warriors FC