S-League Match Preview Week 17
18th July 2012 (Wednesday)
Albirex Niigata (S) v Brunei DPMM
Jurong East Stadium, 7.45 pm
Having seen Tampines Rovers reclaim top spot with a 3-0 win over Woodlands Wellington last night, Albirex will be keen to dislodge them from the summit again when they face DPMM tonight.
The White Swans may have brushed aside Woodlands in their last game, but they will surely face much tougher opposition tonight in the Wasps, who will be fresh and ready to go after almost a month of rest.
Koichi Sugiyama’s side are known for their possession game, with the ability to string together quick passing moves to pick holes in the opposition defence and they will be greatly aided by the suspension of key DPMM defender Tales dos Santos.
The giant Brazilian is an integral part of the Bruneians’ defence and a major factor in his side’s second-best record of fourteen league goals conceded, and he will be sorely missed.
The Albirex midfield will supply ammunition for forwards Toshikazu Soya and Sho Kamimura, with pony-tailed central playmaker Atsushi Shimono looking to be in fine form in recent games. They also have a lethal weapon at set-pieces in the form of imposing centreback Kunihiro Yamashita, who has netted twice at such situations in his last two games.
DPMM coach Vjeran Simunic will be able to field new signing Patrick da Silva, the Brazilian striker having been brought in as a replacement for compatriot Rodrigo Grahl, who had a lingering knee problem.
The 27 year-old, who was brought in for his experience, has played in Mexico and Australia but it remains to be seen whether he can strike up a potent partnership with fellow forwards Shahrazen Said and Basiru Osman.
DPMM lost their unbeaten home record in a 2-1 defeat to SAFFC in their last league outing, but they still remain very much in the title hunt, sitting just a point behind second-placed Albirex and with a game in hand.
They will be keen to prevent a third successive defeat and haul themselves back into contention, while Albirex seek a fourth win on the trot and top spot; whatever it is, this should be a game of genuine entertainment between two well-matched sides.
Albirex last five games: DDWWW
DPMM last five games: WWWLL
Previous meeting: DPMM 2 Albirex 1 (Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium)
Prediction: There appears to be nothing separating these two sides. 1-1 draw.