Daniel Fadhil gives his thoughts on Friday’s pulsating match against DPMM
“Football, ****** hell!” was the first words of Manchester United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson during the aftermath of his team’s late victory against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Final 1999.
It could be very well described of yesterday’s game, where everything you can thought of in a football game happens in ninety minutes at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Bandar Seri Begawan on Friday,
Two saved penalties, a red card, four goals in twenty five minutes of the second half is enough to kill the hearts of the soft-hearted. Hougang didn’t exactly played fantastic total football adopted by the Dutch, but their well-known fighting spirit often appears when in times needed.
No one expected the Cheetahs to take any points off DPMM. In fact, many were expecting the heavy defeat of last season’s 5-1 scoreline. Many even were expecting the Cheetahs to finish at the bottom six standings come end of the season.
Fadhil Salim played a Jekyll-and-Hyde character in goal. Failure to react fast enough to two of the goals conceded, however, he made amends to two well-saved penalties; one from a Croatian international, the other Brunei’s equivalent to Hariss Harun. People may wonder, with an accolade of being part of S.League’s team of the year last season and scintillating performances at the second half of last season, why he wasn’t even considered for the Lions’ Suzuki Cup squad. However, after this performance and subsequent consistent performances might consider him into the incoming Lions’ coach plans.
Syaqir Sulaiman made people wonder his preferred position. Played almost everywhere in his entire S.League career, however, last season shown his potential at the heart of the defence, alongside Hasree Zais. He carried over his great form of last season, and after nineteen months of non-scoring period, he’s now the leading scorer for Hougang so far this season.
Mamadou Diallo, at twenty-three, people may forgot that he’s the longest serving foreign player in the S.League and an invaluable asset to the Cheetahs. Yesterday’s goal showed his worth why Hougang still needs his services,and the goal may be on of the memorable goals, a 35-yard thunderbolt which bulged the top left hand corner of the DPMM net. The Singapore team selection committee might be looking at him as one of the foreign talents to don the Lions’ jersey soon, something he himself is considering.
Liam Shotton might not have the best starts in his Hougang career so far. Being labelled one of the foreign signings to look out so far, yesterday’s brace might spark a volley of goals for the Stoke-born forward.
Robert Eziakor’s name and the number 20 has often been mentioned by the Bruneian commentators yesterday, even labelling him a ‘menace’ and comparing him to a certain Manchester United forward yesterday. Many might not know that Hougang scouted him from NFL Division One side Tiong Bahru United. Still yet to score a goal, the Nigerian forward will be one of the main characters to head Hougang’s quest for silverware, and continue his pulsating runs towards the opposition defence throughout the season
Some call it luck, or superstitious, but the colour blue might be a stroke of luck this season. Season 2011 saw the blue and black kit led Hougang to their best ever lague finish and reaching the finals of the League Cup, only to finish runners’ up. Their Sengkang Punggol/Marine years also saw them having a certain Grant Holt draped in blue and yellow, and also another League Cup runners’ up medal in 2007 also saw them in an all-sky blue kit. Hougang’s two fixtures so far had saw them in blue. Therefore, keep our fingers cross if the Blue phenomenon for Hougang will lead them to glory this season.