Garena Young Lions are set to face Home United FC tomorrow at Bishan Stadium in their penultimate match of the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League season.
In the past two meetings between the two sides, the Young Lions lost 6-1 away and 1-2 at home to the Protectors.
Midfielder Syahrul Sazali feels that the team has learnt from previous matches.
“I think the team has learnt to be more confident on the ball. If you compare the previous two outings together, when we lost 6-1, we were too nervous to play our usual style of football which is a short passing game. In contrast, during the second match, we had the confidence to play the style of football we normally play and managed to keep the scoreline close. I think the focus of the team towards the last two matches of the season is to keep possession of the ball more and avoid giving away silly fouls.”
Agreeing with his team mate, goalkeeper Hairul Syirhan said: “Compared to the start of the season, I feel that we have become more compact and tighter in defence and allowing less goals to be conceded. Now, we just have to be more creative in attacking to get the goals.”
With just two more games to the end of the season, both Hairul and Syahrul are determined to give their all.
Hairul said: “I would definitely want to perform at my best for the remaining games and give a good performance. The main motivation that has kept me going is to hopefully gain the opportunity to play abroad and be called up to the senior National Team.
“As the goalkeeper for a young team, we will face frequent attacks from other stronger teams so we have to be in top form every game. I see it more as a motivation for me rather than a challenge. I hate to lose and I believe my team hate it too. We must go for the win every time we play.”
Syahrul, on the other hand, has been working on improving winning challenges.
“The most challenging for me is 1v1 defending. I’m not big-sized so it’s hard for me to win the ball. I have been trying to overcome it by working on 1v1 situations, as well as my physique.”
The Young Lions recently clinched their first win of the season as they defeated Warriors FC 1-0 before falling to Hougang United FC (0-1) and Tampines Rovers FC (0-3) in their next two matches.
“It’s a good time to meet them (Home) now. If we take a point off Home, then Tampines will be second (in the table),” said Garena Young Lions head coach Vincent Subramaniam.
“But it won’t be easy. They fielded almost the full first 11 against Tampines and I am quite sure they will do the same against us. For us it’s 0-0 when the game starts and we will take them on from there.”
With the season coming to a close, the Young Lions head coach feels that it is only right for him to hand his players an equal opportunity to play in order for them to gain match experience.
“This is part of the developmental scheme. If you don’t use the other players, how do you call yourselves a developmental team?” explained the former Singapore national team coach.
“They all have training but they have to learn from the matches as well. When I took over on 28 August, I had nine training sessions and four matches in 10 days. You can’t correct the mistakes instantly. Whatever mistake we have, we will show them on the video after the match to rectify it.”
The Garena Young Lions will play Home United FC at 7.30pm at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday 31 October 2017.