thumbnail Hello,
Preview: Tampines Rovers vs Albirex Niigata

Preview: Tampines Rovers vs Albirex Niigata

Muhammad Farhan

The newly-crowned champions face the second-place chasers in their final home game of the season

November 1, Friday, 7.30p.m., Jalan Besar Stadium

Tampines Rovers might have already sealed the S.League title, but they will want to end off their home campaign with victory when they welcome Albirex Niigata in the last match of Round 26.

The Stags have not won a game since their status as champions was confirmed, losing 2-0 to Home United subsequently before then drawing with Tanjong Pagar United 1-1 the last time out.

That was in all likelihood down to a lack of motivation - and who can blame them - but Tay Peng Kee should be demanding a win in their last home game of the season to end things of a high note.

But he will not have the services of combative skipper Mustafic Fahrudin due to suspension troubles, along with Ruzaini Zainal and Seiji Kaneko for the same reasons. League joint-top scorer Aleksandar Duric is likely to sit this out as well due to injury.

Striker Khairul Amri has been in good scoring form for country and club, netting the opener against the Jaguars with a well-taken finish. At the back, goalkeeper Andre Martins has settled well after arriving in mid-season and already established himself as one of the better custodians in the league.

Meanwhile, the White Swans need a victory to keep up the chase for second spot. That position is currently being occupied by Home, who are five points ahead following their 1-0 win over Tanjong Pagar United on Wednesday night.

Their title challenge was derailed by a series of poor results in the second half of the season and even saw them cede their second place to the Protectors, and Koichi Sugiyama must be desperate for his men to at least finish runners-up.

Star winger Bruno Castanheira was a driving figure in their previous outing, a solid 3-1 win over Woodlands Wellington that proved just what they can do if they get things right. Rookie Kazuya Fukuzaki impressed as well, while the return of captain Shuhei Hotta appears to have steadied things on the defensive end somewhat.

Both teams produced a 3-3 thriller when they last met, with the Stags escaping with a point only after a late equaliser. If they play to that sort of standards again, the supporters will be in for a cracking game.