Albirex Niigata (S) eye 26th straight win at Jurong East vs. Home United

Albirex Niigata (S) will be targeting their 26th straight win in all competitions at Jurong East Stadium when they host Home United in the first leg of the Singapore Cup semifinals on Wednesday night.

The White Swans have been absolutely unplayable on home turf, with their last loss at Jurong East coming in the S.League against Tampines Rovers in Nov. 2015 when the visitors prevailed 1-0.

"It's important that we win at home and get a good result going into the second leg at Bishan [three days later]," coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga told the S.League's official website.

Albirex have, however, found it hard to play against Home in 2017 -- winning just once in four encounters via a 1-0 triumph at Bishan en route to retaining the League Cup.

In the S.League, the defending champions were defeated 2-0 in a televised game at Jalan Besar Stadium in June, which sandwiched 2-2 and 1-1 draws at Bishan.

However, the Japanese outfit are brimming with confidence, having been undefeated in their last 13 outings. They will also welcome back top scorer Tsubasa Sano from a two-match suspension.

"It does not matter [in terms of the chances created] because Sano does not play alone," Yoshinaga insisted. "There are other players in the team as well and I believe that the efforts of the players will be rewarded as long as they work hard together.

"We always try to perform at our best in every game, no matter who our opponents for the day are.

"While there is no sure-win game in football. There will be no special tactics or surprise that I will employ and we will go about playing the same way as we do for our other games."

Home must be feeling good about themselves at the moment, winning four and drawing one out of their five games since being defeated by Ceres-Negros in the AFC Cup ASEAN zonal final.

The Protectors are going all out to reach their first Singapore Cup final since 2013, with their S.League title hopes looking slim. They are 13 points off the pace, with three games in hand.

"With all due respect to Albirex, we will go to Jurong East Stadium to do what we need to do," captain and goalkeeper Hassan Sunny said. "What could be more beautiful than winning in their fortress?"

"We're a team and a group of players who are ambitious, want to fight and want to win," echoed coach Aidil Sharin, who was part of Home's first Cup-winning side in 2000.

"It's always important to believe and have faith in our abilities, and always feel that everything is possible in football."

Home will be missing the services of forward Khairul Nizam, who suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury in last Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Albirex.

However, French wide man Sirina Camara has recovered from injury and South Korean playmaker Song Uiyoung is back from suspension.

The winners over both legs will face either Hougang United or Philippines invitees Global-Cebu in the Singapore Cup final on Nov. 25.