Ceres-La Salle FC will now host Singaporean powerhouse Tampines Rovers at home for their AFC Cup match on April 12 at the Pana-ad Stadium. The Bacolod squad scored a 1-1 draw with the Singaporean club last March 15 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Photo from Tampines Rovers Wikipedia Page
Tampines was good as advertised scoring the opener in Singapore, but Ceres came back to salvage a draw to frustrate the home squad. The Busmen were on point defensively during the match save for the goal allowed in the early part of the second half. Offensively, they controlled the midfield with Paul Mulders and Manny Ott but the Tampines defense were equal to the Ceres forwards.
[Part 1 of the scouting report can be found here: [AFC Cup 2016] Tampines Rovers: Scouting Report Part 1 ]
The Rovers have recently fashioned a three-game winning streak in the S.League since the AFC Cup match beating current champions Brunei DPMM 2-1, Garena Young Lions 2-1, and recently fellow AFC Cup Team Balestier Khalsa 1-0.
Starters vs Brunei DPMM: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (C), Christopher Van Huizen (Jermaine Pennant 61’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Fazrul Nawaz (Yasir Hanapi 67’), Jordan Webb (Mustafic Fahrudin 74’), Izzdin Shafiq, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Irwan Shah, Billy Mehmet
Early goals in Brunei spelled the difference in this match but DPMM came back firing for an equalizer in the end. Tampines was on the defensive the remaining part of the match but the Bruneian squad couldn’t find the back of the net. The Rovers were sporting a 4-4-2 formation with Mehmet and Fazrul up top and four at the back, deviating from the favored back three of Coach V.
Starters vs Young Lions: Izwan Mahbud (GK) (Joey Sim 77’), Mustafic Fahrudin, Fabian Kwok, Shakir Hamzah, Irwan Shah, Christopher van Huizen (Fazrul Nawaz 61’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Jermaine Pennant, Jordan Webb (Hafiz Sujad 64’), Izzdin Shafiq, Billy Mehmet
Playing against Singapore’s developmental team might have allowed the Rovers to put less pressure on the pedal but the then number two S.League squad had other ideas scoring two early goals again. The Young Lions got a penalty back but the action was still on Tampinese favor till the end. The favored 3-4-3 formation was used in the match.
Starters vs Balestier Khalsa: Joey Sim (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (C), Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Sujad, Yasir Hanapi, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jermaine Pennant (Mustafic Fahrudin 83′), Jordan Webb (Izzdin Shafiq 90′), Fazrul Nawaz (Sufian Anuar 62′), Billy Mehmet
Against Balestier, the S.League leaders were attacking from all over with carving out chances with plays coming from the wings and the counter. Their finishing betrayed them for the most parts but the winning goal was a beauty. A terrific pass from Pennant was met by Webb, looping a header over the keeper towards the far post. Tampines was aggressive, clogging the middle with five midfielders, with two up front and three at the back.
Coach V. Sundramoorthy used a 4 man backline against Ceres in Jalan Besar, but a 3-4-3 may be favorable to him this time because of its flexibility for the mids to defend. The three attackers in Jordan, Mehmet, and Pennant are untouchable but it should be noted that the three are now comfortable in interchanging positions where necessary, spoiling the defensive marking of the opponents.
The middle would be a combination of Hafiz on the left with Shahdan and Yasir holding the middle. The right midfield would be a question between midlfielder Christopher Van Huizen or right-back Fabian Kwok. Van Huizen hasn’t been fully utilized for a whole match while Fabian was used the whole match in the same 3-4-3 formation. Fabian may take the nod in this game with Chris as the safety.
The best way to beat this team is to make sure that they would have less of the ball and be wary of their counterattacks coming from their deadly wingers. Ceres had some semblance of this the last game, but a switch between Jordan and Pennant in the end caused a defensive lapse that led to a goal.
(Videos from the Great Easter-Yeo’s S.League YouTube channel; Starters and Subs info from http://www.sleague.com)