Match Review: DPMM vs HGFC, 29th July 2015

2015.07.29 DPMM vs HGFC 3Hougang United walked away with a point from the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium after a 1:1 draw with Brunei DPMM on Wednesday. Mid-season signing Vuk Sotirovic secured the equalizer in the second half to cancel out Azwan Ali’s opener. This was the Serbian striker’s second goal in as many games against the Wasps – he had scored the winner in their League Cup encounter just 36 days ago.

The stalemate prevented Brunei DPMM from topping the table while Hougang United moved one point closer to Geylang International after the latter lost 2:0 to Tampines Rovers earlier in the same evening.

The result also saw the Cheetahs remaining the only team to have denied the competition’s current top scorer Rafael Ramazotti from finding the net. Despite an impressive tally of 15 goals in 15 matches thus far, 12 from 12 in the S.League, the Brazilian striker has now failed to score against Hougang United in three games.

The Line-Ups

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Vuk Sotirovic and Taufiq Ghani were added to the starting line-up in place of Fareez Farhan and Atsushi Shimono.

Salim Moin made two changes to the starting line up that lost 0:3 to Tampines Rovers on Friday. After missing three games through injury, Sotirovic replaced Fareez Farhan upfront as Diego Gama’s strike partner while Taufiq Ghani came in the side for the absent Atsushi Shimono. The Japanese defensive midfielder had returned to his home country the previous day on compassionate grounds.

This was Taufiq’s first start of the season after three prior appearances as a substitutes, the first of which lasted for 120 minutes after coming on as an early substitute for an injured Shunsuke Nakatake in the Singapore Cup tie with Global F.C., a game that only ended in extra time. Coincidentally, it was that injury to Nakatake that saw his compatriot Shimono joining the side as a mid-season replacement.

Brunei DPMM’s Shahrazen Said was also making his first start of the season in place for the suspended Paulo Sergio, who had to sit out this match after accumulating his fourth yellow card in his team’s 1:1 draw against Young Lions on Sunday. Adi Said was another suspended player after receiving a straight red card in the same game. Centre-back Brian McLean made his return to the starting line-up after serving his own two match suspension.

First Half

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Hougang United’s starting line-up. Photo credit: S.League

Fittingly enough, the game’s two eventual goalscorers both had their team’s first shot at goal. Azwan needed only two minutes to produce a close range effort that rocked the crossbar while Sotirovic’s strike in the 12th minute went straight to Wardun Yussof.

Brunei DPMM’s attacking intent were clear as they dominated the early game. A header by McLean went mere inches wide of the post while sound positioning and quick interventions from Hougang United’s backline denied attempts from Shahrazen and Hendra Azam.

A timely block by Tengku Mushahdad to deny a shot from Azwan backfired spectacularly when the ball deflected off Kunihiro Yamashita and rebounded right back to Azwan. Switching to his left feet, Azwan’s follow-up drove past Ridhuan Barudin into the far post for the Wasps to take the lead in the 33rd minute of the game.

Two minutes later, Shahrazen made a sensational dribble to shake off two defenders and crossed the ball past another but Rafael’s sliding in attempt to tap the ball home saw the ball going over the crossbar instead.

Second Half

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Vuk Sotirovic (middle) attempts a free kick here but it was an opposition free kick that ultimately led to his equalizer. Photo credit: S.League

The second half started in the same way as the first half with a near chance at goal from Brunei DPMM within two minutes from kick off. This time, a spectacular leap by Ridhuan tipped Hendra’s shot from the edge of the box over the crossbar. Minutes later, Azwan struck a deep cross to find an unmarked Shahrazen in the box but the latter could only hit the side netting with his attempt at goal.

The Wasps’ dominance meant that Hougang United had to defend for most of the game and it was from defending a set piece with ten men that the Cheetahs launched a swift counter attack that gave them the equalizer in the 69th minute. The goal was a team effort that started at the other end with a Brunei DPMM free kick taken by Joe Gamble. Yamashita headed the ball away but only as far as Rosmin Kamis. Delwinder Singh and Lau Meng Meng combined to retrieve the ball and clear it out of the box. Carlos Delgado then swept the ball wide to Fazli and the counter was truly on. A long ball upfield was intercepted by a header from Sairol Sahari back to Nurhilmi Jasni’s path. The captain rolled the ball forward to Sotirovic, who turned and struck a right footed low curler around Wardun.

The Wasps piled on the pressure thereafter but more solid defending from the Cheetahs – and another diving save from Ridhuan in the 89th minute to deny Azwan – saw the points split evenly at the final whistle.

The visitors will turn hosts when Hougang United next face Warriors F.C. at Hougang Stadium on the 4th of August.

Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari, Hendra Azam (Yura Indera Putera 81′), Joseph Gamble, Rosmin Kamis (C), Azwan Ali, Shahrazen Said, Rafael Ramazotti

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Yuki Uchiyama, Kunihiro Yamashita, Tengku Mushadad (Lau Meng Meng 66′), Delwinder Singh, Nurhilmi Jasni (C), Carlos Delgado, Taufiq Ghani, Fazli Jaffar (Fairoz Hasan 83′), Vuk Sotirovic, Diego Gama

Video credit: S.League

Shimono given compassionate leave

Atsushi Shimono has been granted leave to return to Japan on compassionate grounds. Hougang United Football Club offers its deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Shimono and his family. They are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Match Preview: DPMM vs HGFC, 29th July 2015

2015.07.29 DPMM vs HGFC 1Either side of last month’s 1:0 win over Brunei DPMM in the League Cup, Hougang United had won only once before and lost only once since – until last Friday night when they succumbed to a 0:3 loss to Tampines Rovers. As Hougang United travel to Bandar Seri Bengawan to face Brunei DPMM at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium, they will be hoping for another upset victory to turn their season around again.

With the loss to the Stags the first time in seven games that the Cheetahs failed to score, Vuk Sotirovic’s return from injury could not be more timely. After missing three matches since being sidelined against Singapore Recreation Club, the Serbian striker will be traveling to Brunei with the team. Whether head coach Salim Moin elect to field him in the starting line-up though remains to be seen.

Title contenders Brunei DPMM has been experiencing an uncharacteristic bad run in their last eight games, losing half of their matches and winning only twice. Poor discipline has proven costly with key personnel missing multiple matches through suspension. Their first loss this year – by Balestier Khalsa – came without Joe Gamble. Azwan Ali was sent off in their next match and sat out the loss to Albirex Niigata (S), which also saw Brian McLean being sent off before the Japanese side’s late winner. In the League Cup competition, Azwan Ali sat out the loss to Geylang International after collecting two yellows cards in as many matches. Both Azwan and McLean were suspended for the goalless draw to Home United. McLean also missed the 1:1 draw to the Young Lions.

That last game also saw Adi Said sent off – the team’s fourth red card in six successive league matches – while Paulo Sergio collected his fourth yellow card of the competition. Both players will consequently miss the match against Hougang United, the only team in the past three months that had defeated a Brunei DPMM side that wasn’t missing a suspended player.

Brunei DPMM vs Hougang United F.C.
2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League
29th July 2015, Friday
8:15 pm, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium, Brunei

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Match Review: HGFC vs TRFC, 24th July 2015

2015.07.24 HGFC vs TRFC 4After a recent revival in form, Hougang United was brought back down to earth on Friday night by a 0:3 loss at the hands of Tampines Rovers, who ended their recent bad run of results with a resounding thump. For most of the game, the Cheetahs’ defence had held sturdy but ultimately for nought as they fell apart in the second half to concede thrice in the space of 13 minutes at Hougang Stadium.

Mateo Roskam was the Stags’ man of the match with two goals at either end of a penalty kick converted by captain Fahrudin Mustafic. The brace meant that Mateo has now taken over Rodrigo Tosi as his side’s leading scorer with five goals to the Brazilian’s four.

This was Hougang United’s first failure to find the net in eight games since their 4:0 loss to Home United in mid-May. That was the last of their ten games winless streak and they had only lost twice in seven games since. Now they have lost twice in three games. How quickly the perspective can shift.

Line-Up

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There were no changes to the starting line-up, a rare occurrence for Hougang United this season.

For only the second time this season, the Cheetahs made no changes to their starting line-up from their previous game. The eleven players that kicked off the 1:3 win over the Young Lions on Monday night had only three days to recover while their opponents had enjoyed a nineteen days break.

With Serbian striker Vuk Sotirovic still recovering from an injury sustained in the League Cup competition, Fareez Farhan partnered Diego Gama upfront again. The duo has now played two games together without either finding the net.

As for Tampines Rovers, Ismail Yunos was given his first start this year after previously making four substitute appearances. Ridhuan Muhamad, who had came off the bench four times since his last start in early April, was also handed a position in the first eleven. As expected, the starting line-up also included the two new signings in the mid-season transfer window, Brazilian goalkeeper Rodrigo Pachecho and former LionsXII captain Isa Halim, both of whom were featuring in only their second game for the Stags.

First half

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Hougang United’s starting line-up with mascots from Global Football Academy. Photo credit: S.League

The closest either team got to scoring in the first half came in the 11th minute when Roberto Alviz smashed the crossbar with a long range strike. The ball rebounded to Firdaus Idros whose cross went over Ridhuan Barudin and towards Mateo near the six yard line but the latter’s header sent the ball floating high over the bar.

Less than 60 seconds later, at the other end of the field, the referee adjudged that Pachecho had handled the ball just outside the box. The goalkeeper quickly made amends by saving the resulting free kick shot from Diego.

The Cheetahs had their best chance of the game in the 19th minute after some eye catching teamwork as Diego dummied Carlos Delgado’s pass for Fareez to flick the ball to Fazli Jaffar on the left. The latter’s shot was wide but the build up play was Hougang United’s most impressive display in a game that their opponents subsequently dominated.

Second half

With their defenders still holding sturdy at either end, both sides soon resorted to a number of long balls after the interval. At one point, Tampines Rovers even tried a long throw in. In the 57th minute, Ridhuan Barudin had to rush out of his box to clear away a long punt from his opposite number that almost found Mateo. Both the striker and his head coach Sundramoorthy evidently thought a foul had been committed by Hougang’s custodian but referee Farhad Mohd saw otherwise.

2015.07.24 HGFC vs TRFC 6

Two of the goals Hougang United conceded were scored by Mateo Roskam. Photo credit: S.League

Tampines Rovers then broke the deadlock in the 66th minute when Ridhuan Muhammad delivered a cross that found Mateo. Ridhuan had provided a similar cross to a tightly marked Rodrigo in the first half but the ensuing header had gone wide. Mateo though had space between the two centrebacks and at close range, he made no mistake with his header.

Just six minutes later, a chaotic melee in a crowded box prompted the referee to blow the whistle after he spotted a handball. From the awarded penalty kick, Fahrudin doubled Tampines’ lead. The game was effectively over in the 80th minute when Mateo scored his team’s third goal after receiving a pass from Roberto Alviz.

Hougang United will be looking to rebound from this loss when they next travel to Bandar Seri Begawan to face Brunei DPMM on Wednesday, the 29th of July.

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Yuki Uchiyama, Tengku Mushadad, Kunihiro Yamashita, Delwinder Singh, Nurhilmi Jasni (C) (Goh Swee Swee 83′), Atsushi Shimono, Carlos Delgado, Fazli Jaffar, Diego Gama (Fairoz Hasan 69′), Fareez Farhan (Lau Meng Meng 83′)

Tampines Rovers: Rodrigo Pacheco, Ismail Yunos (Jufri Taha 86′), Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Predrag Pocuca, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Ridhuan Muhammad (Ismadi Mukhtar 68′), Isa Halim, Roberto Alviz, Firdaus Idros, Mateo Roskam (Indra Sahdan 84′), Rodrigo Tosi

Video credit: S.League

Match Preview: HGFC vs TRFC, 24th July 2015

2015.07.24 HGFC vs TRFC 1When Hougang United hosts Tampines Rovers at Hougang Stadium this Friday, the 24th of July, they will be facing a team looking to end a slump that started after the two sides’ previous meeting in the 2015 S.League competition.

Despite an impressive start to the season with 3 wins from 4 outings – the last of which was a 2:0 win over Hougang United at Jurong West Stadium – Tampines Rovers have since found themselves mired with just 1 win in their last 8 games. Perennial underdogs Hougang United are no strangers to a bad run of results but after taking 11 games to secure their first competitive win this year, the Cheetahs’ form have recently improved with 3 wins and just 2 losses in their previous 7 games. Only four points now separates the two sides in the league table though Tampines Rovers have two games in hand.

Two members of the Brunei DPMM side that finished as league runner-ups in 2014 have since found a new home with the Stags. In Rodrigo Tosi, Tampines Rovers boasts the tournament’s top scorer for the previous year. A late replacement for an injured Fabrice Noel, Rodrigo has since scored 4 goals from 8 games for his current team while his fellow Brunei DPMM alunmi Roberto Alviz has provided 5 assists from 9 appearances.

The Stags have also added two new players during the mid-season transfer window with the arrival of Brazilian goalkeeper Rodrigo Pachecho and former LionsXII captain Isa Halim. Both Rodrigo and Isa have only played one game for their new side, a 1:0 defeat to Warriors in the League Cup.

For their part, Hougang United will be looking to get a consecutive win for the first time this year. With Geylang International and Harimau Muda facing off on the same night at Jalan Besar Stadium, a win over the Stags would lift the Cheetahs into 8th place in the table. However, fitness could be a concern given the disparity between the two teams’ schedule. While Tampines Rovers have enjoyed a 17 days break since their last match, the Cheetahs would only have 3 days to recover after their previous game.

Hougang United F.C. vs Tampines Rovers F.C.
2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League
24th July 2015, Friday
7:30 pm, Hougang Stadium

Tickets:
$5.00 (adults)
$1.00 (concession)

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Match Review: CYL vs HGFC, 20th July 2015

2015.07.20 CYL vs HGFC 2  The bogey team was no more as Hougang United secured their third win of the season and their second in the 2015 S.League competition after defeating Courts Young Lions 1:3 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday night. This was the Cheetahs’ first win over the Young Lions in six games as they ended an uneviable streak of bad results stretching back two years against the development side.

The Argentinian Carlos Delgado was undoubtedly the man of the match with his two assists. He nearly provided a third too. Goals came from Delwinder Singh and Kunihiro Yamashita in set pieces before Fairoz Hasan added a third late in injury time. For the Young Lions, goalscorer Adam Swandi was their most valuable player as he sparkled in an otherwise dismal showing from his side.

Team News

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The team played in their yellow away jerseys with the goalkeeper in grey.

After an unconventional 5:3:1:1 formation in the team’s previous game against Balestier Khalsa, Hougang United head Coach Salim Moin reverted back to a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation. Delwinder, back from an injury that had kept him out of the side for two matches, was fielded alongside Yamashita, Tengku Mushahdad and Yuki Uchiyama in front of Ridhuan Barudin in goal. This was the same backline that had impressed in last month’s 1:0 win over Brunei DPMM.

In midfield, Fazli Jaffar operated on the left with captain Nurhilmi Jasni on the right as they sandwiched Atsushi Shimono and Carlos in the middle. After providing a goal and an assist against Balestier, Fareez Farhan deservedly retained his starting role and was partnered upfront with Diego Gama.

For the Young Lions, the Canadian duo Jordan Webb and Sherif-El Masri made their long awaited return after sitting out from competitive football since last November. This was Juergen Raab’s first game in charge of the side after taking over from Aide Iskandar.

First Half

Hougang United's starting eleven against the Young Lions.  Photo Credit: S.League

Hougang United’s starting eleven against the Young Lions.
Photo Credit: S.League

After a quiet opening spell, the game burst to life at the 10th minute mark when Fareez won a free kick close to the left touchline. From Carlos’ delivery, Delwinder rose above Sheikh Abdul Hadi to head the ball into the net. Ten minutes later, another free kick – this time won by Nurhilmi close to the right touchline – saw Carlos providing another perfect cross from

which Yamashita scoring with a header. In between the two goals, Carlos had also crossed the ball in open play to Diego but the latter’s volley was parried away by a diving Syazwan Buhari.

During this frantic period, the Young Lions came close to scoring twice as well. In the 17th minute mark, Adam evaded Delwinder with a feint and moved into an unmarked position. His shot was deflected by Yamashita past the six yard line. A sprinting Amy Recha was unable to get hold of the ball and within a fraction of a section, Uchiyama cleared the ball away.

Four minutes later, just after Hougang had doubled their lead, Adam released a through ball to Amy that bypassed the Cheetahs’ defence. Amy’s pass found Jordan Webb near the six yard line. A simple tap in was all that was required for a goal but instead the ball was inexplicably blasted high above the crossbar.

The Young Lions dominated possession thereafter but was unable to penetrated past Hougang United’s defence. The remaining close chance in the second half belonged to the Cheetahs. In the 38th minute, a cross from Uchiyama found Diego at the edge of the box. The ball was chested down for Fareez but his volley was shot too high.

Second Half

Hougang United came close to adding another goal in the 56th minute. Nurhilmi had broke clear on the right before passing to Fareez along the twelve yard line. With a quality turn, his back initially facing goal, Fareez controlled the ball, bringing it down to the ground before laying a short pass to Diego with the outsole of his left boot. The Brazilian was unmarked but his shot was too powerful and went sailing over the crossbar.

At the other end, Ridhuan was kept busy and in the space of seven minutes, he tangled thrice with Adam Swandi. In the 63rd minute, an unmarked Adam was denied the ball by a vital interception from the goalkeeper. A minute later, Ridhuan had to rush out of the box to head the ball away after a long delivery had gone flying over the entire Hougang defence. Adam was shown a yellow card for clattering into the goalkeeper but seven minutes later, he pulled a goal back for his side with an impressive solo effort. After sprinting ahead of Nurhilmi and feinting Uchiyama into the wrong direction, his right footed shot curled beyond the reach of Ridhuan.

Hougang United were treading on dangerous waters as the clock wound down. In the 88th minute, a long ball from Anumanthan was headed backwards into the penalty box by Tengku. Suria struck a right footed volley to deny Ridhuan the ball before delivering a tame shot towards goal. Yamashita made a crucial clearance two yards from the touchline to deny the Young Lions the equalizer.

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Hougang United’s three substitutes were all directly or indirectly involved in the final goal of the game. Photo credit: S.League

Against the run of play, Hougang United scored their third goal in the third minute of injury time with the active and passive contributions of their three substitutes. Taufiq Ghani kicked the ball past a clearly offside Muyahmin Salim. The Young Lions defenders were complacent in presuming the linesman would raise his flag but Muhayamin was wise enough to avoid touching the ball, stopping dead in his track to allow an onside Fairoz Hasan to get a hold of it instead. Fairoz confidently rounded past Syazwan and slotted the ball into the net to secure the win for the Cheetahs.

With this result, Hougang United moved six points clear of the Young Lions. They remain in 9th position behind Harimau Muda on goal difference. The Cheetahs will next play Tampines Rovers on the 24th of July, Friday, at Hougang Stadium.

Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari (C), Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Farhan Rahmat (Faris Azienuddin 73’), M Anumanthan, Afiq Noor (Suria Prakash 66’), Jordan Webb, Sherif El-Masri (Shameer Aziq 66’), Amy Recha, Adam Swandi

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Delwinder Singh, Kunihiro Yamashita, Tengku Mushahdad, Yuki Uchiyama, Fazli Jaffar, Atsushi Shimono, Carlos Delgado, Nurhilmi Jasni (C) (Taufiq Ghani 90’), Fareez Farhan (Muhaymin Salim 72’), Diego Gama (Fairoz Hasan 64’)

Video credit: S.League

Match Preview: CYL vs HGFC, 20th July 2015

2015.07.20 CYL vs BKFCThe 2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League competition returns on the 20th of July with a bottom of the table clash as Hougang United takes on Courts Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium. The two sides had met each other in their first match of the season and as fate would have it, they will now square off again in their first match following the mid-season break.

With one win and one draw in seven games, the Young Lions sits three points behind the Cheetahs but with four games in hand. Coincidentally, both sides had only gotten their first competitive win of the year in their last match of this competition – a 0:1 away defeat of Home United for the Young Lions at the end of April and a 1:0 home win over Geylang International for Hougang United at the end of May.

The two teams experienced mixed fortunes during the mid-season break in their respective competitions. In the 2015 The New Paper League Cup tournament, Hougang United impressed in defeating Brunei DPMM but struggled to gain a draw with NFL side Singapore Recreation Club before they were knocked out at the semi-final stage by a 3:2 loss to Balestier Khalsa.

In the meanwhile, 16 players from Young Lions comprised the bulk of the 20 man squad that competed as the Singapore Under 23 side in the 28th SEA Games. Wins over the Philippines and Cambodia were not enough for the team to progress beyond the group stage of the competition. In the aftermath, Aide Iskandar resigned as the head coach of both the Singapore Under 23 side and the Young Lions. His replacement has yet to be confirmed but former East German football player Juergen Raab is expected to be in charge of the side on Monday.

Four Young Lions players have also departed to the LionsXII team – Shakir Hamzah, Safirul Sulaiman, Shafiq Ghani, and Al-Qaasimy Rahman – while the Canadian duo Jordan Webb and Sherif El-Masri are expected to return to the side after an eight months absence from competitive football. The Young Lions will be a different side to the one that drew 1:1 with Hougang United at the start of the year – but the same could also be said for the Cheetahs with their six additions in the mid-season transfer window.

Courts Young Lions vs Hougang United Football Club
2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League
20th July 2015, Monday
7:30 pm, Jalan Besar Stadium

Tickets:
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$1.00 (concession)

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Match Report: BKFC vs HGFC, 6th July 2015

2015.07.06 BKFC vs HGFC 6Hougang United’s journey in the 2015 The New Paper League Cup has ended with a 3:2 semi-final defeat at the hands of Balestier Khalsa on Monday night at Jalan Besar Stadium.

In contrast to their past two matches where they only found the net late in the game, Hougang United got off to an electrifying start as Fareez Farhan scored a goal within 18 seconds after the referee’s opening whistle. None of Balestier Khalsa’s players had yet to touch the ball as Hougang made 8 passes from the kick-off, the last two an exchange between the goal scorer and Nurhilmi Jasni, who delivered a perfect through ball that required just one touch from Fareez to put the Cheetahs ahead.

And yet it was Balestier Khalsa who then took control of the game. They dominated the first half to such an extent that Hougang United did not had their second shot at goal – a header from Kunihiro Yamashita that went straight to Zaiful Nizam – until 45 minutes after Fareez’s strike.

Kenneth Chang, the hero in Hougang’s previous game, was the villain on this night. He first conceded a free kick at the halfway line and needlessly received a yellow card in the 19th minute for protesting the referee’s decision. He then conceded a penalty kick in the 24th minute after he caught Miroslav Kristic from behind and could count himself fortunate not to have received a second yellow card from the referee.

First choice goalkeeper Ridhuan Barudin was on the bench after missing training due to National Service commitments and in his place was Ahmadulaq Che Omar, who was only playing his second game for the Cheetahs this season. The veteran goalkeeper dove the right way but he was unable to stop Kristic’s right-footed shot from the penalty spot.

The game was level again but not for long. In the 35th minute, Zulkiffli Hassim outpaced Fazli and delivered a brilliant pull back cross to Kristic at the edge of the box. The Croatian striker hit a fierce shot that went straight into the top left corner of the net.

2015.07.06 BKFC vs HGFC 2Hougang United’s two foreign strikers Diego Gama and Vuk Sotirovic had both been injured in their previous match against Singapore Recreation Club. In their absence, head coach Salim Moin opted to field a 5-4-1 formation with Fazli Jaffar and Yuki Uchiyama as the wing backs around Kenneth, Yamashita and Tengku Mushadad. Upfront, Fareez was entrusted to the striker role with Carlos Delgado, Fairoz Hasan, Atsushi Shimono and Nurhilmi in midfield.

Where they had been placid in the first half, Hougang United came out after the break fighting for possession as they actively looked for an equalizer. Their efforts were rewarded in the 72nd minute by an uncharacteristic blunder from Zaiful. Going off his line in an unnecessary effort to keep Igor Cerina’s header from going out of play for a corner, the goalkeeper only succeeded in fumbling the ball onto a lurking and pouncing Fareez. The goalscorer turned provider as he passed the ball to Carlos and with Zaiful still off his line, Carlos was able to slot the ball home to draw Hougang level.

The game appeared to be heading for extra-time but Ignatius Ang had other ideas as he scored the winner in the 85th minute. He had came on as a substitute in the 68th minute for Zulkiffli and duly rewarded Marko Kraljevic’s decision to replace an assist provider. The goal came in a characteristic Balestier manner with Tarik Cmajcanin playing a long ball from the centre circle that bypassed seven Hougang United players. With his second touch, Ignatius lobbed the ball over an off-his-line Ahmadulaq.

Throwing caution to the wind, Salim Moin replaced Tengku Mushadad for Muhaymin Salim as he bolstered Hougang United’s attacking options. Kenneth Chang and Yuki Uchiyama had already been replaced by Taufiq Ghani and Diego Gama earlier in the second half. After starting with four outright defenders, Hougang United was ending the game with just one as they chased after a second equalizer. Despite five minutes of injury time, it was not to be.

Balestier Khalsa will face Albirex Niigata (S) in the League Cup final on 10th July, Friday, at Jalan Besar Stadium. Hougang United will next play Courts Young Lions on the 20th of July, Monday, when the S.League competition resumes.

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (C), Ahmad Syahir, Igor Cerina, Emir Lotinac, Ho Wai Loon (Hanafi Salleh 90′), Fadhil Noh (Hazzuwan Halim 90′), Poh Yifeng, Tarik Cmajcanin, Zulkiffli Hassim (Ignatius Ang 68′), Robert Pericic, Miroslav Kristic

Hougang United: Ahmadulhaq Che Omar, Yuki Uchiyama (Diego Gama 73′), Kunihiro Yamashita, Tengku Mushadad (Muhaymin Salim 88′), Kenneth Chang (Taufiq Ghani 63′), Fazli Jaffar, Nurhilmi Jasni, Atsushi Shimono, Fairoz Hasan (C), Carlos Delgado, Fareez Farhan

Photo Credits: S.League
Video Credits: S.League

Match Preview: BKFC vs HGFC, 6th July 2015

2015.07.06 BKFC vs HGFCSix teams have been eliminated from the 2015 The New Paper League Cup competition, including the 2014 champions Brunei DPMM. Only four teams now stand a chance of lifting the trophy with Geylang International and Albirex Niigata (S) facing each other in the first semi-final on Sunday night before Hougang United meet Balestier Khalsa in the second semi-final the following day.

Eagles vs Swans. Cheetahs vs Tigers. From a zoological mascot perspective, it could not be more fitting.

Balestier Khalsa had qualified for the semi-final in style, emerging undefeated in what many what had dubbed the tournament’s “group of death”. A 4:0 wallop of 2014 S.League champions Warriors F.C. was followed by a 2:2 draw with V. Sundramoorthy’s Tampines Rovers.

The Tigers’ top scorer Miroslav Kristic, with 10 goals this season in all competition, will be looking to add more to his League Cup tally of 3 goals. Only Geylang International’s Bruno Castanheira has scored more in the tournament. The most valuable player in the competition will take home a $1,000 bonus and while the award will not necessarily go to the top scorer, it won’t hurt anyone’s chances to have a few more notches in their goal tally.

For their part, Hougang United will hope to repeat the performance that gave them a 1:0 win over Brunei DPMM. That victory over the 2014 League Cup winners was not the first time they have defeated the reigning champions in this tournament. In the very first match of the 2014 edition, Hougang United had defeated the 2013 League Cup champions – none other than Balestier Khalsa.

Hougang United Football Club vs Balestier Khalsa Football Club
2015 The New Paper League Cup Semi-Final
6th July 2015, Monday
8:30 pm, Jalan Besar Stadium

Tickets:
$5.00 (adults)
$1.00 (concession)

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Match Report: HGFC vs SRC, 2nd July 2015

2015.07.02 HGFC vs SRC 2Hougang United qualified for the semi-finals of the 2015 The New Paper League Cup despite being held to a 1:1 draw by National Football League Division 1 side Singapore Recreation Club on Thursday night at Hougang Stadium.

A draw was all that Hougang United required to progress in the competition but ultimately, even the solitary point was unnecessary after Geylang International defeated Brunei DPMM 4:2 at Jalan Besar Stadium. Before kick off, a minute of silence was observed at both games as a mark of respect for Nadesan Ganesan. The former chairman of the Football Association of Singapore chairman had passed away the previous morning at the age of 82.

With Singapore Recreation Club packing their defence with numbers, the first half was a stifling and uneventful contest with chances few at either end. Vuk Sotirovic had the only shot on target in the 13th minute but it was impressively tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Zainol Gulam. Both Fazli Jaffar and Fairoz Hasan made eye catching runs but their final touch was poor with the former sending his cross too wide and deep while Fairoz’s through ball to Vuk was flagged by the linesman for offside.

Hougang United had to make an early substitution either side of the interval as their two strikers Diego Gama and Vuk Sotirovic were forced off with injuries in the 39th and 54th minute respectively. They were replaced by Muhaymin Salim and Carlos Delgado, who had been on the bench after recovering from a groin injury.

There were several other changes to the Hougang United side that had defeated Brunei and drew with Geylang. Kunihiro Yamashita made his return after missing five games due to a hamstring pull. Lau Meng Meng, Faizal Amir, and Nurhilmi Jasni also returned to the starting line-up while Fazli Jaffar started for Hougang United for the first time since he rejoined the club in the mid-season transfer window.

The game came to life in the second half as more space was opened up to both teams after Singapore Recreation Club started attacking more. Their efforts were rewarded in the 64th minute after they had won a corner. From the ensuing cross, Kunihiro headed the ball out but only as far as Samuel Balls. The ball returned to the box and former Hougang United centreback Shariff Samat headed the ball across for Matthew Hemmingway to score with a header of his own, much to the elation of the club’s sizable group of supporters at the stadium. It was the first time that an NFL side had scored a goal in this year’s League Cup competition.

Hougang United rallied after going behind and piled the pressure on their opposition. Al-Aminnur Ibrahim, who had replaced Zainol in goal, made a vital save with when he denied a strike from Nurhilmi in the 83rd minute but there was nothing he could do to stop Kenneth Chang in the 90th minute. A long ball from the halfway line was delivered by substitute Tengku Mushadad into the box. Kunihiro headed the ball downwards and Kenneth pounced to score his first ever goal for the Cheetahs. For the second game in a row, Hougang United had scored a late equalizer to draw level and gain a point.

Despite qualifying for the semi-finals, head coach Salim Moin was naturally displeased with his side’s performance and lamented that his players had been too complacent. He nonetheless was full of praise for the opposition. “My congratulations to the SRC because they played well. They were a very well disciplined team. Well organised. They really worked as a unit.”

It was a historic game for Singapore Recreation Club as they became the first NFL side to secure a point in the history of the League Cup competition.

Geylang International will meet Albirex Niigata (S) in the first semi-final on Sunday night while Hougang United will face Balestier Khalsa in the other semi-final on Monday night. Both games will be played at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Faizal Amir, Kenneth Chang, Kunihiro Yamashita, Lau Meng Meng, Nurhilmi Jasni, Fairoz Hasan (C) (Tengku Mushadad 71′), Atsushi Shimono, Fazli Jaffar, Diego Gama (Muhaymin Salim 38′), Vuk Sotirovic (Carlos Delgado 54′)

Singapore Recreation Club: Zainol Gulam (Al-Aminnur Ibrahim 81′), Zulkarnain Malik, Shariff Samat, Precious Emuejeraye, Faliq Sudhir (C), Samuel Balls, Firman Hanif, Nurul Islam (Khyruddin Khalid 76′), Anders Aplin, Nazirul Islam, Michael Hemmingway

Photo Credit: S.League
Video Credit: S.League