Stags Seek To Inflict First Defeat On Protectors
Tampines Rovers vs Home United
(Friday, 12 May, 7.30pm. Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Shawn Lim
Tampines Rovers will be the latest club attempting to halt Home United’s unbeaten streak in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League when both sides meet at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
Round 1 of the S.League will draw to a close with this match-up but none of the other seven teams in the league have managed to come away with all three points against the Protectors, who boast the likes of the in-form trio of Stipe Plazibat, Faris Ramli and Khairul Nizam.
However, Tampines midfielder Yasir Hanapi believes they can be the first to stop the Bishan-based side and move into second spot in the league standings.
“We all know that they are currently the in-form team and they have been scoring goals for fun,” said the 27-year-old.
“But this is football and the ball is round, we can stop them from continuing to win. Plazibat is a very good striker, but we have a strong defence in Izwan (Mahbud), Madhu (Mohana) and Mustafic (Fahrudin) who are the best in Singapore
“We have the abilities and capabilities to do it, so we have to have trust in ourselves.”
Although Juergen Raab’s charges are unbeaten in their last three league matches, things have not gone to plan on the continental stage as they crashed out of the AFC Cup 2017 group stage.
This could be seen as a chance by many for the Stags to launch a stronger title bid, but Yasir insists that challenging for the title has always been paramount to their plans this season.
“Even when we were in the AFC Cup, we were still doing well in the league, which is why we are currently in third,” asserted Yasir.
“But now that we have one less competition to play for, we are all the more determined and eager to catch the teams above us and reach the summit.”
While he is an attacking midfielder or a winger by trade, injuries to the team has seen Yasir deployed upfront in recent games - an experience he has relished.
“I realise it is incredibly hard to play upfront because defenders do not give you a lot of time to think and hold on to the ball, unlike out on the flanks and in midfield,” Yasir admitted.
“But it definitely improved my reaction time to know how fast I need to release the ball and when I am defending, I know how to stop the striker from advancing toward goal.”
Tampines will welcome back midfielder Son Yong Chan and talismanic forward Khairul Amri from suspension, while Plazibat is likely to be restored to the Home line-up after sitting out their win against Balestier Khalsa the last time out.
Tampines Rovers - WWWWL
03/05/17 Tampines Rovers 2-4 Ceres-Negros FC (AFC Cup)
28/04/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Tampines Rovers
23/04/17 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Garena Young Lions
19/04/17 Felda United 1-3 Tampines Rovers (AFC Cup)
08/04/17 Geylang International 0-4 Tampines Rovers
Home United - WWDWW
02/05/17 Home United 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
28/04/17 Home United 3-0 Geylang International
22/04/17 Warriors FC 2-2 Home United
18/04/17 Home United 4-1 Yadanarbon FC (AFC Cup)
09/04/17 Hougang United 0-2 Home United
Head to Head (S.League)
10/09/16 Home United 1-0 Tampines Rovers
13/05/16 Tampines Rovers 1-2 Home United
03/03/16 Home United 1-1 Tampines Rovers
08/11/15 Home United 2-3 Tampines Rovers
17/05/15 Tampines Rovers 3-0 Home United