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  • August 22, 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Hougang Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: L. Hoe
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Preview: Hougang United vs Warriors FC

Preview: Hougang United vs Warriors FC

Sam Chow

The struggling uniformed giants travel to the league's second-bottom side as Englishman Alex Weaver returns to take on his former employers

August 22, Thursday, 7.30 p.m., Hougang Stadium

Stacked side by side near the bottom of the table with only the Courts Young Lions below them, things do not look good at the moment for both Hougang United and Warriors FC.

Four points behind the Warriors, the Cheetahs' dreams of a top-six finish are over with three games left while their opponents look highly unlikely to reach the top half as well as they are eight points adrift of sixth-placed Woodlands Wellington.

Of course, there is an interesting sideshow as Warriors gaffer Alex Weaver returns to Hougang for the first time since being bizarrely pushed to the fringes at Hougang Stadium earlier on in the season after some poor results.

Weaver was replaced by interim coach Johana Johari, who has since been made a permanent installation, but both men are still struggling with their new clubs. Hougang have lost their last six league games in a row, while the Warriors only won one of their previous five games.

Johana has tried to get this side playing attacking football but if you can't find the back of the net, then it does not really matter what kind of style you employ.

Forwards Liam Shotton and Mamadou Diallo have four goals each to their name and are the Cheetahs' joint-top scorers, but they will have to hit the goal trail on a more regular basis if their team wants to start winning games. Diallo will miss this due to suspension, so Shotton should get the nod upfront.

The hosts will likely base their gameplan down the flanks, while at the other end they will miss captain Lau Meng Meng due to suspension, as Igor Cerina leads the defence. The Croatian centreback and goalkeeper Fadhil Salim will have to be on their toes against Warriors hitman Mislav Karoglan, who is as lethal a marksman as they come.

The striker has seven strikes so far this season and will be aided by the tricky Tatsuro Inui (right), who has the ability to tear through defences with his dribbling ability. The Japanese winger's sweet left foot is also a danger at set-pieces and Hougang will have to avoid conceding freekicks in dangerous areas.

Weaver can at least take heart at the recent excellent form of custodian Hassan Sunny, who appears to be making good progress after a spate of injuries. The Englishman will also be able to count on the steady Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, whose good performances earned him a first-ever call-up to the recent national team, while Abdil Qaiyyim will look to dominate in central defence.

In truth there is nothing at stake here except for pride, but Weaver will fancy his chances of exacting some sort of revenge.

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15Fadhil SalimGoalkeeper
-Hasree ZaisDefender
-Shahir HamzahDefender
5Igor CerinaDefender
6Thomas BeattieMidfielder
17Azhar SairudinMidfielder
11Fazli JaffarMidfielder
18Fazly HasanMidfielder
19Nurhilmi JasniMidfielder
9Jerome BakerStriker
14Liam ShottonStriker
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16Basit Abdul HamidDefender
3Syaqir SulaimanMidfielder
12Faizal AmirMidfielder
6Benedict ChuaMidfielder
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1Hassan SunnyGoalkeeper
11Marin VidosevicDefender
2Jeremy ChiangDefender
14Matthew AbrahamDefender
16Daniel BennettDefender
3Zulfadli Zainal AbidinDefender
-Kazuyuki TodaMidfielder
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-Mislav KaroglanMidfielder
-Tatsuro InuiStriker
13Erwan GunawanStriker
1Hyrulnizam JumaatGoalkeeper
-S. IskandarDefender
22Abdil QaiyyimDefender
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