Football: key to victory for sailors in SPL clash against Albirex, Football News & Top Stories
SINGAPORE – The Lion City Sailors will leave on Friday September 17th to remove defending Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions Albirex Niigata at Jalan Besar Stadium and 2020 Player of the Year Gabriel Quak called on his Sailors teammates to adopt a positive state of mind before confrontation.
The 30-year-old believes the Japanese team have been put on a pedestal and have a psychological advantage as they go into every game looking for a win, unlike opponents who come into games against them. not wanting to lose instead of wanting to win “.
Quak said: “There are many teams that can match them and we have known their tactics, strengths and weaknesses for quite some time now. But if teams think, ‘Let’s try not to concede first’, then they are already beaten. .
“We can’t approach the game like that and focus on what they can do. We have to show our authority and let them worry about us instead.
“We know exactly what we have to do – win the last four games and we’ll be champions. So we have to take the initiative, and even though we concede first, we know we have the ability to bounce back and win. “
With 38 points in 17 games, the Marines are five points behind Albirex but have one game less. If they win their remaining games, they will have 50 points, while the White Swans can only reach a maximum of 49 points.
However, if Albirex wins or draws the Sailors on Friday, they will be on pole position to win their fifth championship in six years.
The story is not on the sailors’ side, with Albirex undefeated in their 11 previous encounters.
While they haven’t lost in the six games since South Korean coach Kim Do-hoon took over from Aurelio Vidmar, there has been a clear shift towards a more compact and less expansive style of play that it took a while for the players to get used to, as they had to come back four times from behind to save a result.
Forward Stipe Plazibat, who scored 14 goals, is uncertain after suffering an ankle tackle in the 3-1 win over Young Lions last Sunday.
But Quak, who has doubled his number of goals to 10 this season, relishes the pressure and hopes that the presence of players – goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, midfielder Hariss Harun and former LionsXII Faris Ramli – who have experience to win titles can lead the team to glory.
He said: “These are the situations we want to be in, to challenge the titles and I think we have influential players to stabilize the ship.”
There might not be a better opportunity for a home side to topple Albirex, who has had to deal with a plethora of injuries in his attacking department.
Kiyoshiro Tsuboi scored 11 goals in nine games before tearing his knee ligaments in May and has just returned as a substitute in the 5-0 win over Geylang International last Saturday, while Fumiya Suzuki (concussion), Fairoz Hassan ( ankle), Nicky Melvin Singh (hamstrings) and Fikri Junaidi (motorcycle accident) have all been ruled out at some point.
In a six-game stretch from May to August, they lost to Tanjong Pagar 2-1, were held in check by the Sailors and Tampines Rovers, and earned three wins on a single goal.
But they’ve had four consecutive wins since.
Albirex coach Keiji Shigetomi said: “This game is a direct confrontation between the first and second (SPL teams). For young players to be able to play this great game is a huge experience in their life. It’s rare, so I want them to play without wasting a second. “
A white swan who has had its day in the field is 19-year-old Kuraba Kondo. His 13 games include 10 bench appearances, but the former Japan junior international has scored eight times, averaging one goal every 86 minutes.
He said: “I want to progress in my football career, but I don’t think scouts will watch entire games. For forwards, they usually watch the highlights of our goals, so I’m always focused on making it happen. score and get assists.
“I will also try to score against the Sailors, but it is more important to fight with my team and win in any way possible because whoever wins this game is likely to win the league.”