Written by: Dwyane James
Hougang United extended Brunei DPMM’s winless run in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League to 14 games after a 4-1 victory in Bandar Seri Begawan on Tuesday night.
Fumiya Kogure netted a hat-trick while Iqbal Hussain scored the other for the Cheetahs in the victory. Brazilian striker Rafael Ramazotti scored a consolation for the hosts.
Hougang had the perfect start after they were awarded a penalty in the sixth minute after Kogure’s cross from the right was handled by Abdul Mu’iz Sisa in the box.
The Japanese then stepped up and sent DPMM custodian Wardun Yussof the wrong way for the lead.
Adi Said came close to an equaliser in the 14th minute but his freekick from 30 yards out bounced inches wide of the post.
He hit the target with another setpiece in the 21st minute but Khairulhin Khalid was to his equal in between the Hougang sticks.
The visitors were then handed another penalty five minutes later after Atsushi Shirota was felled by Yura Indera Putera off a corner kick.
Kogure then made no mistake from 12 yards out for his second of the game to double their advantage.
Khairulhin produced another save just before the halftime whistle as he dealt with Ramazotti’s header.
DPMM head coach Steve Kean made two attacking changes to start the second half, replacing both their centrebacks Yura and Hanif Hamir with Shahrazen Said and Hazwan Hamzah.
The hosts had back-to-back chances in the 55th minute but Khairulhin was there for the double save.
The Hougang custodian first denied Azwan Ali Rahman at the near post before keeping out Adi’s effort from 25 yards out.
The Wasps reduced the deficit in the 74th minute with Ramazotti firing on the turn from just inside the box to beat Khairulhin.
However, their joy was shortlived as Hougang replied just a minute later as the ball was played into the middle from the right for Iqbal to fire past Wardun.
The Cheetahs should have added another in the 80th minute after the ball was given away to substitute Antoine Viterale but the left post came to the rescue of DPMM.
In turn, Viterale was sent off with a straight red for his boot catching a DPMM player on the rebound.
Hougang would however seal the win six minutes from time after a first ball was played over the top for Kogure.
The Japanese midfielder then skipped past his marker before slotting past Wardun to complete his hat-trick.
With the result, sixth-placed Hougang have 26 points in 18 games while DPMM remain second from bottom with five points from 17 matches. The two teams will face off again on Saturday night at Hougang Stadium.
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: In the second half, we changed the system and brought on substitutes. I thought we got a grip of the game.
“When it got to 2-1 we were on the ascendancy but we gave the third goal away which was basically their first cross. We got to deal with it better as that goal then takes the wind out of our sails and gave them a massive lift after we just scored.”
Hougang United Head Coach Philippe Aw: “I thought we started well and the early goal settled us down. We know Ramazotti is very good in the air but we managed to keep him quiet most parts of the game.
“At the start of the second half, we had many chances on the break to finish it 3-0, 4-0 but we didn’t and kept DPMM alive. Ramazotti is a good player and scored a good goal but thankfully within a minute we scored the third and it gave us confidence. If it stayed 2-1 for a longer time it would have given us problems.
Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yusoff (GK), Rosmin Kamis (C), Abdul Muiz, Hanif Hamir (Hazwan Hamzah 46′), Azwan Salleh (Hendra Azam 57′), Azwan Ali, Nurikhwan Othman, Helmi Zambin, Rafael Ramazotti, Adi Said, Yura Indera Putra (Shahrazen Said 46′)
Hougang United: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Fumiya Kogure (C), Delwinder Singh, Atsushi Shirota, Fareez Farhan (Antoine Viterale 67′), Nazrul Nazari, Fabian Kwok, Iqbal Hussain (Nurhilmi Jasni 83′) , Faiz Salleh (Ali Hudzaifi 77′), Lionel Tan, Zulfahmi Arifin