Tampines want to be first team to beat Home this season
Tampines fired up to end Home's unbeaten run and boost their own title hopes
|TAMPINES ROVERS||HOME UNITED|
They conceded four goals the last time they played at the Jalan Besar Stadium, as their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup dream came to an end.
Tampines Rovers ended their Group G campaign with a whopping 17 goals conceded, letting in four goals or more in half of their six games.
However, it is a different story in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League and Home United, their opponents tomorrow night, had better be wary.
Tampines have conceded only four goals in seven S.League games this season - the best defensive record in the league.
And they want to be the first team to beat Home in the league this year to fuel their own title hopes.
"The AFC Cup is played at a different pace, it's faster," Tampines skipper Madhu Mohana told The New Paper.
CHASE THE GAME
"But, in those games, we conceded an early goal, had to chase the game, and we were forced to open up at the back. That doesn't happen very often."
This is an important game, we don't want Home and Albirex to run away from the rest of us.Tampines Rovers skipper Madhu Mohana, on tonight's match against home United
Tampines are third on 15 points in the nine-team standings.
They are two points behind Home, with defending champions Albirex Niigata perched atop the ladder on 19 points.
"I have always wanted to be in a team that concede few goals, because that's how you win the league - with a solid defence," said Tampines' Singapore international Daniel Bennett.
"Both Home and us need the three points and it's a hard one to predict.
"They've improved from last year for sure, but we're getting back to a full squad, something we've not had all year."
Bennett, 39, was referring to the injury troubles that saw the Stags play with just 12 senior outfield players on matchday at one point this season.
They've improved from last year for sure, but we're getting back to a full squad, something we've not had all year.Tampines Rovers defender Daniel Bennett on home United
"It's still early in the season and, to be honest, I never look at the league table," he added.
"I just want the team to do what we can on the pitch.
"Both teams have several national players, and also players who have that will to succeed.
"Obviously, Albirex will be looking at this game where one of us (Tampines and Home) will drop points."
Tampines are keen to put their AFC Cup woes behind them, and there is no better way than to inflict on Home their first defeat in this season's league - and get right into the S.League title race.
"This is an important game, we don't want Home and Albirex to run away from the rest of us," said Madhu.
"That was what happened last year, Albirex just ran away (with the title)."
"It's important to get points tomorrow, because I think we have a good chance of winning the league," added the 26-year-old defender.
"We've been training hard, and I think it's a really good chance that we have.
"We just can't drop points from games like this. Both are good teams with several national players, and it'll come down to who wants it more on the day."