Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2012 Singapore Cup semis preview: Scouting the Tampines Rovers

Scouting the Tampines Rovers
by rick olivares

Tampines Rovers look to stamp their class as Singapore’s top football side when they take on Loyola Meralco Sparks in the two-legged semifinals series of the 2012 Singapore Cup.

Not only is Tampines the defending S. League champions but they are also the current league leaders with a 14-4-4 record (with Albirex Niigata, the squad they vanquished in the Singapore Cup quarterfinals behind by four points in the standings).

The first leg of the semis clash will be at Tampines’ home field of Clementi Stadium. The stadium seats about 4,000 people and has an excellent grass pitch. It’s a 30-40-minute drive including traffic from where Loyola is based in Bugis.

Tampines runs a 3-4-3 formation:

Sasha Dreven

Jufri Taha    Anaz Hadee    Benoit Croissant

Ismadi Mukhtar    Fahrudin Mustafic   Saed Hadzibulic    Jamil Ali

David Piskor    Alex Duric    Gligor Gligorov

Hadzibulic plays a holding midfield position that is crucial to Tampines’ game plan as he is a good stopper and can deliver the ball to Duric who plays the target with accuracy.

Gligorov takes their free kicks and can be spot on with his delivery. It is a huge advantage that Tampines’ forwards are all very tall and can win those high balls.

They have speed on the wings with Jamil Ali but he tends to dribble a little too much when he should pass.

The way to beat Tampines is to stop Hadzibulic and Mustafic. Divest them of the ball. That will force Gligorov to go back and help out. Duric may be getting in on the years but he remains a dangerous scorer. The old warhorse has eight goals in the current S. League. But the Bosnian Serb doesn’t track back as much as he used to as he picks his spots. A fast pace doesn’t suit Tampines as they prefer a more deliberate game with Hadzibulic launches those GPS-laced long balls of his to his forward line.

Mustafic? I am not sure if he has come back healthy. But I would not underestimate him.  This team as coached by Tay Peng Kee (who once played forward for Singapore) has scorers. Yes, they love to play attacking football. 

Tampines is vulnerable from attack from the right side where Ben Croissant will have his hands full. 


In other Singapore Cup action, Singapore Armed Forces defeated Gombak United , 1-0, after a Takeshi Inui penalty in the 35th minute. Second leg is at the Jurong West Stadium this Saturday.

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