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  • August 30, 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
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Preview: Albirex Niigata vs Balestier Khalsa

Preview: Albirex Niigata vs Balestier Khalsa

Kuris

The Japanese team need victory to keep their flagging title hopes alive but will not find it easy against a tough Tigers side who are unbeaten in their last nine league matches

August 30, Friday, 7.30p.m., Jalan Besar Stadium

Fifth-placed Balestier Khalsa will clash with second-placed Albirex Niigata in this week's televised match hoping to seal a place in the top six with one game left to go.

A victory would do just that and Darren Stewart's men will not be short on confidence as they hope to prolong a remarkable nine-game unbeaten streak in the league.

In fact, the Tigers have lost only once in their last 15 matches - a stunning run of form that is testament to their fighting spirit and a direct style of football that brings out their strengths.

The loss of striker Kim Min-ho due to suspension will be a blow given his key part in the Balestier attack, but the likes of Zulkiffli Hassim and Ruhaizad Ismail are more than able replacements.

Defender Jaslee Hatta will also sit this out for the same reason, which should mean that captain Paul Cunningham will slot right back in at central defence if he recovers sufficiently to take to the field.

Korean midfielder Park Kang Jin will provide the creativity from the middle of the pitch, while Singapore international Qiu Li is capable of match-winning magic.

Their opponents were doing rather well in their bid for a first S.League title earlier in the season but that challenge has since faltered in recent weeks, as they have drawn four and lost the remaining one in their last five games.

Hitting the back of the net on a regular basis has been the Achilles' heel of Koichi Sugiyama's side, although they suddenly found their scoring boots against Tampines Rovers last time out.

Only a goalkeeping howler late on saw them throw away two points in a 3-3 draw, which was a much improved performance, especially given that they fought back from two goals down to take the lead.

With 10 goals so far, striker Kazuki Sakamoto is an obvious threat to the Balestier rearguard, but former J-League midfielder Shingo Suzuki (right) is also a difficult customer to handle with his set-piece prowess and assured technical ability.

Their possession-based game will clash directly with Balestier's more abrasive gameplan and although the White Swans came out tops earlier this season, the Tigers will fancy their chances of reversing the tables this time round.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Albirex Niigata S

Balestier Khalsa

Wins
2
1
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) ALB
Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) Albirex Niigata S
Draw
Balestier Khalsa FC BAL
Balestier Khalsa FC Balestier Khalsa
100%

Top 3 Predictions

Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) ALB
0 - 2
Balestier Khalsa FC BAL
Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) ALB
2 - 5
Balestier Khalsa FC BAL
Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) ALB
0 - 1
Balestier Khalsa FC BAL

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