A Singaporean team returns to the AFC Champions League, only to find themselves in one of the toughest groups, with teams not to be trifled with. They are grouped together with the 2008 AFC Champions League winner and J1 League runner-up Gamba Osaka, two times Champions League winners from the Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC, and the 2018 Thai treble winners, Chiangrai United.
This rencounter will see both runner-ups of their respective leagues last season lock horns as Gamba Osaka looks forward to reconceptualize and reform following their horrendous campaign in the J1 League thus far.
The Stags were the best local side in the Singapore Premier League in 2020, just falling short to Albirex Niigata. Things are not looking positive for Gavin Lee's side as they have only managed to claim eight points in their last five domestic matches. Nothing to write home about as they are presently sitting fourth in the SPL.
Under the helms of Gavin Lee, Tampines Rovers have only managed to clinch a Singapore Cup and two first-runner ups of the SPL.
Gamba Osaka, on the other hand, qualified by finishing second in the league behind Kawasaki Frontale in the previous season. Their current form seems abominable for them in the league as they are drowning in relegation zone, at 17th place. Despite the current hardships they are facing in their league, they have managed to acquire 10 points in their last five games under their interim coach, Masanobu Matsunami.
Head to Head
Both the teams are looking to rally their men as this would be their first encounter going head to head against each other.
Tampines Rovers form guide: D-W-D-W-L
Gamba Osaka form guide: L-W-W-D-W
Tampines striker Taufik Suparno would not be available for the upcoming matches in group stage due to injury. There are no suspensions.
Injured: Taufik Suparno
Other reasons: None
There are no reported injuries or suspension.
Other reasons: None
Predicted starting XI
Tampines Rovers predicted XI (4-3-3): Syazwan Buhari (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Madhu Mohana, Baihakki Khaizan, Amirul Haikal, Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedovic, Iman Hakim, Boris Kopitovic, Yasir Hanapi, Armin Bosnjak.
Gamba Osaka predicted XI (4-3-3): Kei Ishikawa (GK), Shunya Suganuma, Ryu Takao, Yota Sato, Wellington Silva, Kosuke Onose, Kohei Okuno, Yuki Yamamoto, Tiago Alves, Kazunari Ichimi, Shuhei Kawasaki.
It would be a roaring battle between the two sides, with all eyes on Gamba Osaka as they were once crowned AFC Champions League winners. However with the current sufferings of Gamba Osaka in the J1 League, Tampines Rovers will be attempting to exploit their weaknesses and causing an upset before the final whistle.
Prediction: Tampines Rovers 3-0 Gamba Osaka