Two S.League matches take centre stage this SG50 long weekend – and the spotlight shines on a young Japanese star
There are only two Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League games over the National Day long weekend – Balestier Khalsa will host Hougang United while defending champions Warriors FC will go head to head against a resurgent Tampines Rovers side at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Friday.
Rising star from the land of the rising sun
While it is easy to single out Balestier’s Croatian hitman Miroslav Kristic as the man to watch with eight league goals so far this season, Hougang United’s Yuki Uchiyama has done a tremendous job despite his tender age of 20.
Not many Singaporeans know that the young Japanese right-back is actually on loan from J.League side Consadole Sapporo, which has a slew of Japanese stars such as former Arsenal midfielder Junichi Inamoto and Shinji Ono on its books.
His steady performances in the Hougang United defence have rarely been spoken about, as the limelight continues to be hogged by the attackers in the team. However, another solid outing against the Tigers at Toa Payoh Stadium will bring him one step closer to his dream of donning the Samurai Blues jersey, having already done so at the youth levels so far.
Balestier has enough firepower to grab all three points on home soil but don’t expect a blowout win against Uchiyama & Co.
Prediction: Balestier Khalsa 2-1 Hougang Utd
Tough Fight expected between warriors & stags
Over at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Warriors FC will be desperate to maintain its title defence. But Tampines Rovers, having found its rhythm of late, will be no pushovers.
The Warriors will be banking on Argentinian striker Nicholas Velez, who will be hoping to give his side a farewell gift with a win over Tampines. The Argentine is playing his last few matches for the 2014 S.League winners before he leaves to join Northeast United in the Indian Super League at the end of the month.
Over in the Stags camp, Mateo Roskam cannot be accorded too much time and space as the Croatian forward is in the form of his life, with four goals in the last three matches.
There is too much at stake in this match and a high-scoring draw will be the likely outcome.
Prediction: Warriors FC 2-2 Tampines Rovers
By Kelvin Leong