S-League Match Preview Week 17
18th July 2012 (Wednesday)
Home United v Geylang United
Bishan Stadium, 7.45 pm
Photo courtesy of Home United FC (Jaron Lee)
Things have not been going well for the Protectors of Home United. In the space of nine days, they met their uniformed rivals SAFFC three times, twice in a two-legged Singapore Cup quarter-final encounter and the other for a league clash.
It would be fair to say that the Warriors came out well on top in the triple-header, successfully dumping the defending champions out of the Cup, before inflicting more misery by romping to a 3-0 victory last week in the league.
Having failed to bring in any reinforcements during the transfer window, the Bishan-based outfit only have eighteen players on their roster, meaning that suspensions and injuries could very well derail their bid for the title.
On paper, their opponents this week should represent a good opportunity for them to get back on track. Geylang have not won any of their last six games and currently dwell in the basement of the table, with the league’s joint-worst goal difference together with Tanjong Pagar.
The Eagles suffered the agony of going down to a last-gasp winner at home against Hougang last week, in a game where they probably deserved a point after coming back well to equalise when they went behind.
However, they were lucky not to have fallen behind by more than one goal before the equaliser, as Hougang failed to exploit some poor defending with some inept finishing. Having conceded a league-high total of thirty-two goals, that is little doubt where the problems at Bedok Stadium lie.
To compound matters, the visitors will be missing the suspended Shahril Alias at the back, although the return of Michael King from illness will be a welcome boost. Assistant coach Noor Ali is likely to continue with a 4-5-1 system, flooding the midfield in an effort to stem the red tide which will come at them relentlessly throughout the ninety minutes.
Meanwhile, Home will be missing Franklin Anzite, who was sent off for a silly headbutt on Shahril Jantan in the defeat to SAFFC, which will be a significant blow for Lee Lim Saeng’s team given his versatility. Rosman Sulaiman is suspended as well, but Sofiyan Abdul Hamid and Nor Azli Yusoff return to ease the defensive headache.
Upfront, Qiu Li should also be back to join Frederic Mendy and Indra Sahdan after the China-born forward sat out the last match with a knee injury, with Japanese striker Shotaro Ihata out of favor.
The Protectors will be gunning for all three points, which could see them climb up to second in the table and despite their poor form, they should still have too much in firepower for the Eagles to withstand.
Home last five games: WWLWL
Geylang last five games: DLDDL
Previous meeting: Geylang 1 Home 7 (Bedok Stadium)
Prediction: While a repeat of the 7-1 mauling earlier this season is unlikely, it should still be a comfortable victory for Home. 3-0 is my call.