Thursday, May 10, 2012

Opponent Watch: Woodlands vs Tanjong Pagar

Woodlands Wellington takes on Tanjong Pagar United in a Friday night clash tomorrow and it seems that the Rams will face a stiff test against a rejuvenated Jaguars side that posted two back to back wins in as many weeks. Dubbed the "giant killers" as of late, Tanjong Pagar have beaten both Home United and Balestier Khalsa on their home turf in recent weeks, lifting them out of the bottom three to 10th spot, two places above the Rams.

Playing in front of a partisan home crowd at the Woodlands Stadium for only the third time this season, the Rams have to go for the jugular the moment the match kicks off. The prospect of registering our third win against Tanjong Pagar will see us climbing above the Jaguars into the lower mid-half of the table.

Kambing Power - The boys will need lots of it to register our third win of the season.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

The recent form of Tanjong Pagar certainly flatters a side which has only won three games so far, the last two being narrow one-nil victories, and the reason for their poor season so far is their leaky defence. The Jaguars count Singapore international Delwinder Singh amongst their ranks but it seems that even the lanky defender has a hard time keeping the goals out. Tanjong Pagar is probably the only team in the league which employs an all-Singaporean defence, and captain Delwinder will be looking forward to notching the Jaguars' third consecutive clean sheet this week.

TPUFC's Delwinder Singh (Red) closes in on Home United's Franklin Anzite (White).
Photo Credit: Home United

The Jaguars' defence has been exposed many times this season by players with quick feet, and the return of Woodlands' lightning quick Lebanese-Australian Hussein Akil must surely be good news to Salim Moin's charges. The pacy midfielder, who played almost three quarters of last week's loss to Home United and scored a beautiful chip as well, will pose plenty of problems for the Jaguars. Hussein's telepathic understanding with Moon Soon-Ho, praised so many times by the media, will give us plenty of hope against one of the worst defences in the league. Tanjong Pagar has conceded 24 goals so far, only Geylang United has conceded more at 27 goals.

Akil's return gives the Rams plenty of hope.
Photo Credit:  Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Tanjong Pagar's dangerman would be the 23 year old Japanese "assassin" Takaya Kawanabe, who has scored in the last two games against Home and Balestier. The former Omiya Ardija man is known for his skillful touches and silky runs, something which Moon can emulate on the other end of the pitch. Fabien Lewis's continued absence in the Rams' defence means that Captain Daniel Hammond must soldier on with the help of Edward Tan, Duncan Elias and K. Sathiaraj, with promising players like Vincent Lee and Danny Chew waiting in the wings and looking eager to start.

Tanjong Pagar's "Little Master" Aliff Shafaein should have an interesting midfield battle with Armanizam Dolah, while the industrious Goh Swee Swee will be looking to score more beauties like the ones he did against Katong FC in the recent friendly, and the following week in a Prime League match. The tireless Shamsurin Abdul Rahman should also feature prominently, providing plenty of bite to the Woodlands attack against a porous Jaguars' defence.

Super Moon - 5 goals so far. Can he increase his tally against the Jaguars?
Photo Credit:  Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Jaguars coach Terry Pathmanathan certainly did a good job motivating his charges after that discouraging 5 - 0 loss to Courts Young Lions three weeks ago, and the Jaguars look refreshed heading into this fixture. On the other hand, Woodlands will be raring to go back to winning ways in front of the home crowd, bolstered by the return of their key players. The match will also see the return of the famed Woodlands Wellington cheerleaders to Woodlands Stadium, who injected plenty of life to the away stands last week against Home United at Bishan Stadium.

This should be a cracker. Go for goals, Rams. We know you can do it.

Are you ready for this one?  Hold on tight, it's gonna get bumpy.

Match Information
Date: Friday, 11th May, 2012 (7.45pm kick-off)
Venue: Woodlands Stadium

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Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

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