Young Lions hope SEA Games experience will help them upset Albirex

Garena Young Lions are hoping that the experience of playing in last month's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will help them upset champions Albirex Niigata (S) in their return to S.League action on Friday night.

The Singapore under-22 side in Malaysia was made up mostly of Young Lions players, who had also taken part in July's AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Myanmar.

And there will be no easing back into club action when they face up to runaway leaders Alibrex, who won a quadruple of 2016 trophies, and the 2017 Singapore League Cup.

"Albirex are the current leaders and they are the team to beat in the league," defender Illyas Lee told the S.League's official website.

"We are determined to put on a good performance and aim to get a good result against them. This will give us the momentum in the league and hopefully we can climb up the table.

Garena Young Lions are now guided by Vincent Subramaniam, who has taken over from SEA Games' coach Richard Tardy.

"We have been training hard since returning from the SEA Games. Although there has been a change in coach, we have had no problems adapting to his playing philosophy," Lee said.

"We played two friendly games over the past week against the national U20 team and the Geylang International S.League team, winning both games. As such, we want to start this week with a good performance and show what the team is capable of."

Young Lions will have little time to gather their thoughts after the Albirex match, with a game against 2016 runners up Tampines Rovers on Tuesday.

"Playing the two teams within the space of four days will be tough, but we are prepared," Lee said.

Albirex are 12 points clear at the top of the table from Tampines, who have two games in hand. Home United, who are 13 points adrift, have three games up their sleeves.