Albirex Niigata vs Balestier Khalsa

An exciting Singapore Premier League contest at the Jurong East Stadium pits Albirex Niigata and Balestier Khalsa against each other.

Albirex Niigata’s title defense has been off to a flying start (W8, L2), even though a goal-glutted 3-2 defeat at Lion City last time out ended their five-game winning streak. The impending home return should encourage a comeback. Except for a 1-0 loss to Tampines Rovers in mid-March, they’ve won all four remaining home league games this season by an aggregate score of 11-0! But the local faithful may have to be patient to see the best of their side, with a clear majority (64%) of Niigata’s home goals this term coming in the second half of play (7/11). Regardless of the timing, ‘White Swans’ will likely walk away with three points, as an impressive run of nine wins from their last ten home league H2Hs (D1) kindly suggests.

In the meantime, visiting Balestier Khalsa have recovered from an underwhelming eight-game league start (W3, L5), stringing together three wins in the build-up to this trip. Interestingly, each win in that stretch saw Balestier capitulate precisely twice, highlighting the visitors’ backline as a potential troublemaker. Particularly vulnerable in the early stages, they’ve conceded a league-high nine first-half goals on the road this term. But with only Niigata (21) boasting a better scoring record on hostile turf than Balestier (14) thus far, manager Peter de Roo shouldn’t lose faith even if his men fall behind. Indeed, the ‘Tigers’ have turned around two of their four away league games after conceding first this season (W2, L2).

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