The Cheetahs will be entertaining this season’s league leaders, Tampines Rovers, in the preliminary round of the Singapore Cup tie at Hougang Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Both teams have their winning runs ended last week, with the Cheetahs being slightly edged out by Albirex Niigata. Tampines, on the other hand, suffered their heaviest defeat so far this season, shockingly in the hands of Balestier Khalsa.
The Stags will be looking to salvage their disappointment of losing to a last minute goal by Erwan Gunawan in last season’s Singapore Cup Final, after taking an early lead. That lost them the opportunity to win their second Domestic Double after 2009. However, this season, the Stags are firing in all cylinders, after the addition of National Team players in Shaiful Esah, Khairul Amri, Firdaus Kasman and Shahdan Sulaiman, and look like runaway leaders at one point, before succumbing to an embarassing defeat at the hands of Balestier Khalsa.
The Cheetahs are well known for being an entirely different team in cup competitions. Since 2011, they have not been ousted before the quarter finals, and past season experiences, ousting the likes of Home United, SAFFC etc, they will be looking forward to make Tampines their next giant killing act.
Hougang will have a full squad to face the Stags, with Jerome Baker completing his long awaited comeback against Albirex. For Tampines, they will probably be facing Hougang without Sasa Dreven, their in-form keeper, after being substituted early in their last game. This might gain the Cheetahs a good advantage, plus a great home advantage playing at home, where they have been unbeaten for the last four games.