Warriors FC vs Semen Padang Preview: Group leaders wary ahead of clash

By Khalis Rifhan
khalis.rifhan@goal.com
@KhalisRifhan

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

WARRIORS FC

Hassan
Bennett - Vidosevic - Qaiyyim - Zulfadli
Shukor
Jia Yi - Ruzaini - Inui
Sufian - Karoglan
SEMEN PADANG
 
Jandia Eka
Novan - Saepulloh - Wahyu - Hengky
Ellie - Hyun Goo - V.Mofu - Vizcarra
Edward Wilson - Titus Bonai

Semen Padang are currently sitting comfortably at the top of Group E and are favourites to progress to the knock-out stages of the AFC Cup, but the Indonesian side are not taking things for granted as they flew into Singapore on Sunday night - three days before their clash against Warriors FC on Wednesday - to adapt to the artificial turf at the match venue, Jalan Besar Stadium.

They will be going into the match buoyed by a resounding 5-0 victory over Bontang FC in the Indonesian Premier League, with Liberian international Edward Junior Wilson (pictured right) scoring four goals in the match. 

The Red Buffaloes' form in the AFC Cup is also being replicated in their domestic league as they are currently leading the table, level on 16 points with Perseman Manokwari, but with two games in hand.

Although coach Jafri Sastra will be without the services of Cameroonian defender David Pagbe, there is not much of a worry for the team as the central defensive pairing of Saepulloh Maulana and Wahyu Wijiastanto has been doing well for the past few matches. 

As for Warriors FC, they will still be without the services of ex-Japanese international Kazuyuki Toda. who has been spending most of his time on the treatment table since his arrival at the club earlier this year.

Also unavailable for selection is former Geylang International defender Syed Fadhil, who is weeks away from full fitness after suffering a hamstring injury a month ago. 

But coach V. Selvaraj has welcomed the timely return of Zulfadli Zainal and Ruzaini Zainal, who were instrumental in their last league match against Hougang United. That game saw the Warriors emerge as 4-2 victors, with Bosnian striker Mislav Karoglan (pictured left) grabbing a brace, and Shi Jiayi and Erwan Gunawan scoring a goal each.

But Erwan will not be available for selection as he is suspended after accumulating two yellow cards, against Semen Padang in their opening match and in the previous match against Churchill Brothers.

Confidence appears to be high in both camps but it remains to be seen whether the Warriors are able to get their act together, especially in defence, to pull the plug on Ellie Aiboy and Esteban Vizcarra.  The duo are known for their speed down the right and left flanks respectively, where they will look to supply the ammunition to Wilson and Titus Bonai upfront.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Semen Padang's last memorable achievement in continental competition was when they reached the AFC Cup Winners Cup quarter-finals in 1993/94. 
  • The Kabau Sirah qualified for the 2013 AFC Cup as the 2012 Indonesian Premier League champions.
  • There are 10 players in the current Semen Padang squad who are national team players, including youngsters Yosua Pahabol and Hendra Bayaw, with the majority of them having been part of the 2012 AFF Championship squad.
  • Warriors FC have reached the AFC Cup quarter-finals on two occasions in 2007 and 2008. They won their first legs at home but failed to progress to the semi-finals after losing the away ties.

  • Warriors qualified for the tournament as winners of the Singapore Cup.

  • This is V. Selvaraj's (pictured right) debut season as head coach of the team after having been with the club as a player and its Prime League (U23) team's head coach.

 

Read More:

Warriors clinging on to AFC Cup qualifying hopes

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