|Photo: Yusuf Photography|
Geylang United v Hougang United
Bedok Stadium, 7.45 pm
Having sat out the past week of Singapore Cup action due to their earlier elimination by Loyola Meralco Sparks, cellar-dwellers Geylang United return to league action against a Hougang United side who crashed out of the Cup last week.
Winless in their last five league games, the Eagles have the opportunity to move off the bottom of the table if they better Woodlands’ result at Albirex, although they also have a game in hand over them.
They will be missing midfielder Basil Teo and striker Amy Recha, both of whom were called up to the Singapore Under-22 squad for the AFC U22 Cup qualifiers taking place in Indonesia currently, as well as head coach Vedhamuthu Kanan, who is away on a coaching course in Japan.
Having seen Jozef Kaplan being played as a holding midfielder and Ang Zhiwei deployed at left-back in their last game, it will be interesting to see whether assistant coach Noor Ali persists with starting players out of their natural positions in this game.
New signing Stefan Milojevic impressed in parts in his debut during Woodlands last time out and he should be better adjusted to the climate here by now. More will be required for him if Geylang are to find the back of the net, as he links up with Michael King upfront.
Hougang snapped a run of six defeats in a row with a slim 1-0 victory over Tanjong Pagar in their last match, but they will be disappointed at not being able to hold on to a first-leg advantage against Gombak in the Cup to lose the tie on aggregate.
The Cheetahs will have to rally from that setback and put up a stronger showing. They will desperately need Jordan Webb to come up with the goods once again, with the Canadian winger having netted eight times this season as Guinean striker Mamadou Diallo continues to misfire in front of goal.
They also have two players away with the Singapore U22s, namely midfielders Farhan Rahmat and Ignatius Ang, while winger Fazli Jaffar is suspended. There is good news on the attacking front, as striker Basit Hamid looks to be recovering well from a knock sustained in Saturday’s game.
On paper, Hougang will appear to be the slight favorites, but Geylang will not want to go down easily at home, as exemplified when they dug deep to equalise against Woodlands in their last match. Fatigue will almost certainly affect the visitors more as well after the tough two-legged Cup meetings with Gombak.
With both sides not particularly prolific at finding the back of the net, the stage looks set for a low-scoring affair.
Geylang last five games: LDLDD
Hougang last five games: LLLLW (SOURCE)