Thursday, March 17, 2011

Preview: Albirex Niigata (S) FC vs Etoile FC

Etoile FC travels back to the ground where they lifted the S-League Champions at the first time of asking on their debut season in 2010 - dispelling all rumours that foreign teams that join the S-League are just mainly to 'make up the numbers'. Ironically, their hosts for tonight, Albirex Niigata (S) FC had also been one of the more consistent foreign team to play their trade in the S-League - despite sending youth players from their rungs here. However, perhaps after looking at Etoile's exploits in the League, the White Swans had recruited many J1 and J2 players to this year's edition of their team.

Etoile FC did not have it easy when they played in Jurong East Stadium twice last season. While the first game ended in 0-0, the second visit to the football dedicated stadium saw the Stars fighting from 2-1 down to win the game 4-2, and the league in that event. Mendy was the chief tormentor that night, and whilst he would probably be catching this game from the stands, there is no doubt that Moulin or whoever that steps in as the striker, in the absence of training ground casulty Justin, would have to fulfill his scoring duties to perfection.

The White Swans showed that they can score after the emphatic 5-0 win over the Jaguars (which one writer claimed that "it send shockwaves around Singapore"), but also showed their ineffectiveness in the final third when up against Woodlands Wellington (win 1-0) via a scrappy goal and then firing blanks against Tampines Rovers and getting a consolation one against Home United. Their home record also does not bode well to their cause on gameday as they managed to garner only 1 wins in 18 outings at the Jurong East Stadium.

The Stars, meanwhile, would had been told by their Chairman Johan that this was the sacred ground where a foreign team won the S-League on a 'foreign' ground. The Stars may had just shrugged off their rustiness after getting 4 past the Cheetahs in their last outings, but the problem is that Johnathan Justin is out for 3-4 weeks. Justin got 2 goals in the last game. The good news though is that all 3 new recruits had passed the mandatory beep test and thus, would be able to start tonight. Amongst the more impressive ones - at last on paper - would be Jonathan Toto.

Man to Watch: Jonathan Toto
If this French-born Cameroonian striker plays tonight, he will probably be a thorn in the Albirex's defence. Having trial for Hearts (Scottish Premier League) and played as a 2nd half substitute at Tynecastle Stadium against BPL side Blackburn Rovers, Etoile's latest recruit would relish at the chance of reigniting his career by scoing goals in his newly adopted country. Be sure to see the ex-Morton guy being one of the star players for Etoile this season, and in particular, this game.

Man to Watch: Bruno Suzuki Castanheira
The half-Brazilian forward was instrumental in his team's last game, when despite being only half-fit, created a goal which Ihata duly converted. Moreover, whenever Bruno plays, the attacking flow of Albirex seemed to show off. Arena would do good to man-mark this forward to ensure that he does not get any offesive move towards the defending half of Etoile. In addition, the defence have to look out for the run of Ihata and Inui should they want to bring home a clean sheet as Bruno would most likely be the decoy for the team.

Prediction: Etoile 3 Albirex (S) 1

*Etoile Ultras would be collecting donations in aid of the Japanese Tsunami/Earthquake victims and the amount collected would ALL be presented to Albirex Niigata Chairman Mr Daisuke Korenaga at the end of the game. Albirex Niigata (S) had also pledged all game proceeds towards the victims of the Japanese Tsunami / Earthquake victims. FAS had kindly waived the levy for this game as well. Show your support to the Japanese victims.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much to Etoile and the fans for your kind gesture for the donation.

    Koh Mui Tee
    Club Manager
    Albirex Singapore