Down to the wire

And then there are four.

Following Home United's 3-2 defeat by Warriors last Friday, Protectors coach Lee Lim Saeng conceded his side's charge for the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title was over.

But, even with the S.League season wrapping up in 10 days' time, there are still four teams in the reckoning.

WARRIORS

(47 points, Goal Difference +16)

While they sit pretty atop the S.League, the Warriors' fate is not in their own hands yet as they have played a game more than DPMM.

But they have a chance to deal a huge psychological blow on their rivals when they host Tampines on Thursday.

A win would stretch their lead at the summit to four points, two days before DPMM's next match against Balestier Khalsa.

That would put even more pressure on the Bruneian club, who have lost both matches at their Bandar Seri Begawan home in the third round.

But, as coach Alex Weaver warned, his players need to focus and cut out the errors which have threatened to derail their title hopes.

Simply put, they cannot afford to slip up any more.

Remaining games:

Tampines (H), Thursday

Albirex (H), Oct 31

BRUNEI DPMM

(46 points, GD +33)

The equation is simple for coach Steve Kean: Win all three remaining matches and they will win the league.

But, on the ground, things don't look that easy.

The former Blackburn Rovers manager will find it tough to rally his troops.

The Brunei national team, which Kean also coaches and are almost exclusively made up of DPMM's local players, lost all four of their AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers, ending with yesterday's 1-0 defeat by Cambodia.

Before they flopped at the qualifiers, DPMM also lost to the Warriors and Home United at home after taking the lead on both occasions. Morale is at an all-time low.

It will be interesting to see how they respond against Balestier on Saturday, especially if the Warriors manage to widen the gap at the top to four by then.

Remaining games:

Balestier (H), Saturday

Albirex (A), Oct 28

Tampines (A), Oct 31

TAMPINES

(46 points, GD +12)

The S.League winners from 2011-2013 are the only team in the top half that are still unbeaten in the third round.

However, they are considered outsiders to win the title a fourth straight time.

Victories in their final two games, against the Warriors and DPMM, will leave them with 52 points.

If DPMM drop points against either Balestier or Albirex, the Stags will clinch the crown right at the death.

Remaining games:

Warriors (A), Thursday

DPMM (H), Oct 31

ALBIREX

(41 points, GD +12)

A six-point gap behind leaders Warriors might seem too much for Albirex.

But they still have to play DPMM and the Warriors, which gives them a chance to take points off the front-runners.

In fact, if they win their remaining three games, Albirex can finish ahead of the Warriors on goal difference. But, to win the title, results elsewhere must go their way.

Remaining games: Home (H), Friday

DPMM (H), Oct 28

Warriors (A), Oct 31

FIXTURES

Today

Woodlands v Courts Young Lions (Woodlands Stadium) Geylang Int'l v Hougang United (Bedok Stadium)

Thursday Warriors FC v Tampines Rovers (Choa Chu Kang Stadium)

Harimau Muda v T Pagar (8.45pm, Pasir Gudang)

Friday

Albirex Niigata v Home United (Jalan Besar Stadium)

Saturday

Courts Young Lions v Geylang Int'l (Jalan Besar Stadium)

Brunei DPMM v Balestier Khalsa (8.15pm, Bandar Seri Begawan)

S.LEAGUE

LEADING SCORERS

22 GOALS Rodrigo Tosi (Brunei DPMM)

21 GOALS Nicolas Velez (Warriors FC)

20 GOALS Kazuki Sakomoto (Albirex Niigata), Goran Ljubojevic (Balestier Khalsa)

17 GOALS Geison Moura (Hougang United)

15 GOALS Roy O'Donovan (Brunei DPMM)

12 GOALS Leo Felice (Geylang Int'l)

GREAT EASTERN-YEO'S S.LEAGUE

*ALL GAMES AT 7.30PM UNLESS STATED.

msazali@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 21, 2014.
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