Photo Credit: Football Association of Singapore
As far as the 2018 SPL season is concerned, it has been one to forget for both sides as they find themselves languishing at the wrong end of the table after almost one-third of the campaign gone and without a win.
Hougang did put up a good fight in the past week against two of the league’s strongest sides in Home United FC and Albirex Niigata FC (S), but ended with just one point to show for.
Meanwhile Geylang fared a little better after three heavy defeats in succession and were nine minutes away from breaking their win-less streak against Young Lions on Wednesday night before Ifwat Ismail’s equaliser.
The two sides will take heart from their recent displays as they face off on Saturday. It will be a game of reunions, with three Geylang players, namely Fumiya Kogure, Fairoz Hasan and Azhar Sairudin making emotional returns to their old nest.
In particular, Kogure shone in the past two seasons for Hougang with 17 goals and numerous assists before making the switch to Bedok.
He can expect a warm reception on match day, with the Hougang HOOLS (Hougang’s unofficial supporters’ club) known for cheering former players when they visit with their new employers.
“It was great memories for me at Hougang as it was my first local team in Singapore,” said the 28-year-old, who had offers from Cambodia, Thailand and Japan in the off-season. “Everyone really helped me and the people there were really kind to me.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the HOOLS and I still appreciate them. After the match, I’ll probably go over to say ‘thank you’ to them. And if I score, I will not celebrate because I still respect Hougang.”
Hougang left-back Faiz Salleh is determined to make it an unhappy return for the trio.
“Having played with Miya (Kogure), Azhar and Fairoz before, we know the qualities they have, so we’ll definitely be prepared to deal with them,” said the 25-year-old, who is into his fifth season with Hougang. “Our confidence is still high and we’re all hungry to get our first win of the season.”
A win for Hougang will see them leapfrog Warriors to go seventh, while a defeat will mean they swop places with Geylang.
TEAM NEWS For Hougang, young attackers Jordan Chan and Antoine Viterale remain unavailable due to injuries, but Nurhilmi Jasni and Stanely Ng are back in contention after recovering from their knocks.
As for Geylang, Captain Anders Aplin continues to sit out due to rehabilitation from groin surgery.
18/08/17: Hougang 0-1 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
20/05/17: Geylang 1-1 Hougang – Singapore Premier Leagu
27/02/17: Hougang 2-0 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
20/10/16: Hougang 0-1 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
30/07/16: Hougang 1-2 Geylang – League Cup
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Syahiran Miswan – Hougang
After a slow start, the season is starting to come alive for Syahiran, who has started alongside vice-captain Fabian Kwok in the middle of the park for four of their five matches. The 24-year-old makes up for a lack of size with his fearlessness to put in crunching challenges and his ability to do the dirty work is something that Coach Philippe Aw values.
Fuad Ramli – Geylang
He had to bide his time, but he is now starting to make inroads at Geylang. The 23-year-old, better known as the younger brother of Faris Ramli, did well in central midfield against the Young Lions despite his diminutive frame and managed to initiate a few attacks, which should do enough to keep him in Hirotaka Usui’s starting eleven.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Hougang defender Faiz: “It was a tough defeat to take against Albirex. We can take positives from the chances we created and how we managed to play out from the back against a very organised team. Both us and Geylang have not started the season well, so it’s a good opportunity for both teams to get three points and surely it’ll be a good game for the fans.”
Geylang midfielder Kogure: “It’s been a difficult season for us at Geylang. But the good thing is everyone is talking to each other and we need to improve more to get better results. I just need to focus on giving a good performance to help the team.”