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

Match Preview: HGFC vs SRC, 2nd July 2015

2015.07.02 HGFC vs SRCThe group stage of the 2015 The New Paper League Cup competition will conclude when Hougang United meets Singapore Recreation Club on the 2nd of July, Thursday.

Singapore Recreation Club had qualified for the League Cup after winning the 2014 FA Cup tournament and as an amateur side playing in the National Football League Division 1, they entered the competition as underdogs. They currently sit on top of the NFL Div 1 table with 4 wins in 5 games but in the League Cup, a 4:0 loss to Geylang International was followed by a 5:0 loss to Brunei DPMM. Having been knocked out of further progress in the competition, Singapore Recreation Club will only have their pride to play for.

Hougang Stadium will be a familiar ground to Firman Hanif, the current joint top scorer in the NFL Div 1 with 4 goals this season. The defender formerly played for Hougang United in the 2014 season and made a total of 16 appearances, contributing 2 goals and 2 assists in all competition. Centreback Shariff Samat also played for Hougang United in the 2011 season while Precious Emujeraye have experience playing in the S.League and the Indonesia Super League.

As for Hougang United, the League Cup represents a chance to shine after a lacklustre first round in the S.League. A draw would be enough for the Cheetahs to qualify for the semi-finals and they could top the group depending on the results of the Geylang International vs Brunei DPMM game.

Hougang United Football Club vs Singapore Recreation Club
2015 The New Paper League Cup
2nd July 2015, Thursday
8:30 pm, Hougang Stadium

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

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Match Report: HGFC vs GIFC, 27th June 2015

Hougang United fought back from two goals down to pull off an unlikely last minute draw against Geylang International on Saturday night in the 2015 The New Paper League Cup competition. Brazilian forward Diego Gama was the saviour for the Cheetahs as his brace cancelled out earlier goals from Jozef Kaplan and Bruno Castanheira.

Hougang’s head coach Salim Moin and assistant coach Nor Azli were both suspended for this match after an argument with the referee in the closing minutes of their previous game against Brunei DPMM. The club’s technical advisors Amin Nasir and Akihiro Nakamura were called on to help as temporary stand-ins.

For the first time this season, Hougang United had started a match without a change to their line-up but while the starting eleven had impressed in their 1:0 win over Brunei DPMM, they appeared toothless for most of the match against Geylang International. It was not until their third and final substitution of the game in the 69th minute that Hougang United finally found their momentum.

Geylang had always looked like the side that would score first. A corner in the 12th minute saw Kento Fukuda getting to the ball ahead of Hougang’s goalkeeper, Ridhuan Barudin, but his shot was cleared from the near goal line by Atshushi Shimono. In the 20th minute, a through ball from Hafiz Nor saw Tatsuro Inui breaking free of Hougang United’s offside line but his shot was tame and went straight to the goalkeeper.

The deadlock was broken two minutes later when Bruno Castanheira evaded two markers and passed the ball to Jozef Kaplan. The Slovak’s first shot at close range was blocked by Ridhuan but he made no mistake with the rebound. Less than a minute later, Jozef came close to doubling Geylang’s lead when a swift counter attack resulted in his shot hitting the far post. This time, the rebound found its way to Hafiz Nor who laid the ball for Bruno but the latter’s shot went inches above the crossbar.

In the meanwhile, Hougang had yet to get a solitary shot at goal and the rest of the first half was little better. Two changes were made in the interval with Faizal Amir and Fazli Jaffar replacing Delwinder Singh and Fareez Farhan respectively. The resumption of the game saw Hougang United more lively with Kenneth Chang and Fairoz Hasan both pulling off shots that required the intervention of Geylang International’s goalkeeper, Yazid Yasin.

At the other end, Inui impressed with a dazzling run into Hougang United’s penalty box but his shot went wide. Fast forward a few minutes, Inui repeated his dribble into the box and this time he delivered a cross from the touchline that was met by Bruno, whose header at point blank range resulted in a two goals lead for the Eagles.

After the introduction of captain Nurhilmi Jasni in the 69th minute, Hougang seized control of the match. In the space of three minutes, Vuk Sotirovic, Faizal Amir and Nurhilmi Jasni each had a shot at goal but while Sotirovic’s shot was saved by Yazid, the other two saw their shots wide off the mark.

The late game pressure paid off in the 84th minute when Hougang pulled a goal back. A fumble from Yazid after a long ball from Carlos Delgado saw Diego Gama latching onto the loose ball before slotting it home.

In the third and last minute of injury time, Hougang United won a corner which Sotirovic delivered to Nurhilmi. His header in turn was flicked goalwards by Diego Gama. In the space of 10 minutes, Hougang United had overturned a two goals deficit to draw level with Geylang International. The referee blew the final whistle mere seconds later.

With four points each, both teams are now in a prime position to progress to the next stage of the League Cup competition. Geylang International tops the table by goal difference and will face Brunei DPMM in their final group game at Jalan Besar Stadium on the 2nd of July while Hougang United meet Singapore Recreation Club on the same day at Hougang Stadium.

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Yuki Uchiyama, Kenneth Chang, Tengku Mushadad, Delwinder Singh (Faizal Amir 46′), Fairoz Hasan (C) (Nurhilmi Jasni 64′), Carlos Delgado, Atsushi Shimono, Fareez Farhan (Fazli Jaafar 46′), Vuk Sotirovic, Diego Gama.

Geylang International: Yazid Yasin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Anaz Hadee 83′), Nor Azli Yusoff, Khairulnizam Jumahat (Shah Hirul 60′), Tatsuro Inui, Jozef Kaplan (C), Hafiz Nor (Shawal Anuar 87′), Bruno Castanheira.

Photo credit: S.League
Video credit: S.League

Match Preview: HGFC vs GIFC, 27th June 2015

2015.06.27 HGFC vs GIFCHougang United’s 2015 League Cup campaign continues as they face Geylang International at Hougang Stadium on Saturday, 27th June 2015.

The two sides had already faced each other twice this year in the S.League competition. Their first encounter in March ended in a goalless draw at Bedok Stadium. Hougang United then ended their 10 games winless streak by defeating Geylang International 1:0 at Hougang Stadium in May. That win was Hougang United’s only competitive victory this season until they upset Brunei DPMM in the League Cup opener.

There was also a friendly match earlier this month that saw Hougang United running rampant with a 4:1 scoreline against Geylang International. Serbian striker Vuk Sotirovic, who was still on trial with Hougang United, scored a brace in that match and his impressive performance won him a contract with the club.

For their part, Geylang International will be looking to get their first win over Hougang United this season. Jozef Kaplan has scored eight goals in twelve matches for the Eagles while Bruno Castanheira has thus far provided three goals and two assists in all competitions this season. Kento Fukuda, the top scorer among defenders in the 2014 S.League season with 8 goals, has yet to score this season.

Hougang United Football Club vs Geylang International Football Club
2015 The New Paper League Cup
27th June 2015, Saturday
8:30 pm, Hougang Stadium

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

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Match Report: HGFC 1:0 DPMM, 23rd June 2015

2015.06.23 HGFC vs DPMM 2Hougang United scored a major upset as they kicked off their 2015 The New Paper League Cup campaign by defeating the reigning 2014 champions Brunei DPMM. A solitary goal in the first half by newcomer Vuk Sotirovic settled the affair in favor of the home side at Hougang Stadium.

The goal came against the run of play in the 21st minute. Brunei DPMM had appeared to be controlling the game when the Serbian striker latched onto a loose ball outside the penalty box and delivered a powerful shot into the bottom corner. Brunei’s goalkeeper Wardun Yussof could barely react at the abruptly delivered goal.

Vuk joined Carlos Delgado, Diego Gama, Delwinder Singh and Atsushi Shimono as a newly signed quintet playing for Hougang United for the first time this season. Carlos and Diego had previously played for Hougang United in 2011 and 2014 respectively. Another former player, Fazli Jaffar, entered the field in the 55th minute when he was substituted in for Fareez Farhan.

Despite dominating the match, Brunei DPMM were unable to break Hougang’s defence. This was the first time all season that Brunei DPMM had failed to score in a match. Rafael Ramazotti remains the S.League current top scorer with 11 goals in 9 matches but he was largely frustrated in this game by a resolute Hougang United back line.

Delwinder Singh was impressive on his debut playing on the left while Yuki Uchiyama looked more comfortable on the right than in the middle. Kenneth Chang and Tengku Mushadad had played in prior matches for Hougang this season but this was their first time playing together as a centreback partnership and they were quietly effective in dealing with Brunei DPMM’s crosses.

A deep cross from Azwan Ali did broke through Hougang United’s defence mere seconds after Vuk’s goal but Ramazotti was unable to control the ball and sent his shot wide. Azwan delivered another quality cross from a free kick that would have bounced high into the goal mouth if not for the outstretched hand of a well positioned Ridhuan Barudin. It was arguably the most impressive save the goalkeeper had to make in the game though a 68th minute dive to deny a Ramazotti header was eye catching as well.

Those watching the match might have been surprised to know that it was only Hougang United’s second competitive win this season.  It was also Hougang United’s first win over Brunei DPMM in six games across two years. There was no question that Hougang United deserved all three points though, as Brunei DPMM’s head coach Steve Kean recognized with his remarks at the post-match press conference.

“Hougang with their new players is not the Hougang that played the first round of the S.League. It’s virtually a new team and they deserved to win because they were better than us in every aspect.”

Both teams will continue their League Cup campaign on Saturday with Hougang United facing Geylang International at Hougang Stadium while Brunei DPMM meeting Singapore Recreation Club at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Delwinder Singh, Kenneth Chang, Tengku Mushahdad, Yuki Uchiyama, Fareez Farhan (Fazli Jaffar 55’), Atsushi Shimono, Carlos Delgado, Fairoz Hasan (Nurhilmi Jasni 70’), Diego Gama, Vuk Sotirovic

Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yusoff, Sairol Sahari, Brian McLean, Boris Raspudic, Rosmin Kamis, Azwan Ali (Azwan Saleh 61’), Hendra Azam (Maududi Hilmi 81’), Joseph Gamble, Adi Said (Aminuddin Zakwan 61’), Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti

Photo credit: S.League
Video credit: S.League

Match Preview: HGFC vs DPMM, 23rd June 2015

2015.06.23 HGFC vs DPMMHougang United Football Club will be kicking off its 2015 The New Paper League Cup campaign at Hougang Stadium on the 23rd of June 2015 and they will be doing so against arguably the most formidable opposition they could face, the reigning 2014 League Cup champions, Brunei DPMM.

Under the guidance of former Blackburn Rovers manager, Steve Kean, Brunei DPMM has emerged as one of the stronger sides in Singapore’s football scene. In addition to winning last year’s League Cup, they finished runner-ups to Warriors F.C. in the S.League and third in the Singapore Cup. In Rafael Ramazotti, the club boasts the current top scorer in the 2015 season. With 11 goals to his credit after just 9 games, Rafael has scored at an impressive rate of one goal every 78 minutes.

The two sides had met earlier this year in the S.League competition with Brunei DPMM emerging victorious in an entertaining 2:3 encounter at Hougang Stadium. That game saw Paulo Sergio making his debut appearance for Brunei DPMM after replacing an injured Craig Fagan in the squad’s line-up. This time around, up to three players could be making their debut appearance for Hougang United after the club made a slew of changes in the mid-season transfer window.

Japanese midfielder Atsushi Shimono, Singaporean defender Delwinder Singh, and Serbian forward Vuk Sotirovic are new to Hougang United though Shimono has previously played under head coach Salim Moin at Woodlands Wellington. The new trio has been joined by a returning trio, Argentinian midfielder Carlos Delgado, Brazilian forward Diego Gama and Singaporean midfielder Fazli Jaffar. Diego and Fazli previously played for Hougang United in 2014 while Carlos was part of the club’s 2011 line-up.

Hougang United Football Club vs Brunei DPMM Football Club
2015 The New Paper League Cup
23rd June 2015, Tuesday
8:30 pm, Hougang Stadium

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

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Six Players Signed

IMG_1079c

From left to right, Diego Gama, Vuk Sotirovic, Carlos Delgado, Fazli Jaffar, Atsushi Shimono, and Delwinder Singh.

Hougang United Football Club has signed six players in the 2015 mid-season transfer window:

Atsushi Shimono (MF), Japan
Carlos Delgado (MF), Argentina
Delwinder Singh (DF), Singapore
Diego Gama (FW), Brazil
Fazli Jaffar (MF), Singapore
Vuk Sotirovic (FW), Serbia

Diego Gama and Fazli Jaffar previously played for Hougang United in 2014 while Carlos Delgado was part of the club’s 2011 line-up. Atsushi Shimono has previously played under Hougang United’s head coach Salim Moin at Woodlands Wellington in 2014.

Everyone at Hougang United welcomes our new and returning players to the club.

2 More Players Released

Hougang United Football Club has released Francisco Salvador Elá and Shunsuke Nakatake. We thank them for their service to the club and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Their replacements will be announced on Monday, the 22nd of June 2015.