Photo Credits: Goal.com Singapore.
TAMPINES ROVERS 3
Alexander Duric 70′,72′; Khairul Amri 86′
HOUGANG UNITED 0
Hougang had their three-game winning streak snapped by a Tampines side that came to live in the last 20 minutes, however, the Cheetahs can learn few positives from this game.
Firstly, although defeated by the defending champions 3-0 on the night, the Stags were left frustrated, particularly trying to breach the Hougang wall of defence, and the goalkeeping general, Fadhil Salim, who have been giving all his best in his Hougang jersey almost every game.
Secondly, Johana Johari might have given his boys a run out in what is to come in 29th May, where the Stags will come visiting the Great Dame of the Northeast, Hougang Stadium in 29th May, and might encourage his charges to learn through this defeat.
Both sides were cancelling out each other in the first half especially the battle between Khairul Amri and Thomas Beattie, where both showed their prowess in the first half. Both sides had opportunities to take the lead early, but were proved fruitless.
The Stags had an opportunity in the first half, when Khairul Amri got the better of Jeremy Chiang on the right. Amri crossed from the left, however, none in yellow got the end of the cross.
On 28 minutes, a counter attack by the Cheetahs, led by Azhar Sairudin found Liam Shotton in the Tampines half. Shotton laid off back to Azhar. However, Azhar tried to dink the ball above Sasa Dreven, but the ball went high above the Tampines goal.
The score remained goalless at half time. The second half proved to be the same, as Hougang almost scored early in the second half. A good run from Fazli Jaffar crossed the ball towards Liam Shotton. Dreven got to the ball first but the ball slipped from his hands. Nurhilmi Jasni then tried to curl it towards the far post, however, it went wide.
The game turned around towards the favour of the home team, as Alexander Duric replaced Jamil Ali on 64 minutes. A dashing run towards the Hougang penalty box and a blast to the side netting immediately after his introduction was a mark for what is to come, as Tampines took the lead six minutes later.
Jufri Taha went from the right flank and gave an excellent cross towards Duric, who headed powerfully towards the Hougang goal. Fadhil Salim got his fingertips on the ball, however, it deflected off his palms and into the net, to put Tampines in the lead on 70 minutes.
Two minutes later, Duric sealed his quickfire double in similar fashion, this time from the left. Sead Hadzibulic’s cross connected with Duric’s head, which gave Fadhil Salim no chance at all.
The Stags sealed the three points on 86 minutes , after great passing work by Firdaus Kasman, Shahdan Sulaiman, Imran Sahib and Duric found Khairul Amri unmarked in the six yard box. The Lions striker volleyed it past Fadhil Salim to put the Stags three ahead and ended the game in fashion.
For the Cheetahs, it was back to the drawing board to prepare for their fixture against DPMM in three days’ time, however, they can be assured that they can held their heads up high after holding the Stags for two-thirds of the game.
Fadhil Salim, Syaqir Sulaiman, Hasree Zais, Jeremy Chiang (Fazly Hassan 45′), Lau Meng Meng, Thomas Beattie (Fairoz Hassan 86′), Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar, Nurhilmi Jasni (Robert Eziakor 77′), Mamadou Diallo, Liam Shotton.
Sasa Dreven, Seiji Kaneko, Jufri Taha, Shaiful Esah, Imran Sahib (Anaz Hadee 88′), Firdaus Kasman, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jamil Ali (Alexander Duric 64′), Mustafic Fahrudin, Khairul Amri, Sead Hadzibulic (Martin Wagner 84′)