An all important match for the away side after title rivals, Tampines Rovers failed to pick up maximum points from their 3-3 draw against Balestier Khalsa. Nothing but a win for Hougang United will hand Brunei Dpmm the title.
The Cheetahs started the game on the back foot when the defense were caught out by a throw-in from the opposition. A quick one touch football, laying the ball to Shawal Anuar before crossing to the unmarked Fareez Farhan in the box, where he calmly put the ball pass Ridhuan Barudin in the 8th minute. Three minutes later, another defensive lapse cost the away side second goal in many minutes. Fabian Kwok was unable to read Jordan Vestering’s back pass where Fareez Farhan took advantage by slotting home.
Despite having its fair share of possession, the Cheetahs were unable to penetrate the Eagles’ back-line and conceded the third goal on the 28th minute. Fareez Farhan grabbed his hat-trick when Ridhuan Barudin lost possession from a back-pass from Jordan Vestering. It could not be a worst start for the Cheetahs, needing to win this game to stay alive in the title challenge.
The away side gained momentum from the earlier mistakes and started to play more in the Eagles’ half. They managed to pull one back before half-time when Shahfiq Ghani was brought down on the edge of the box. He coolly converted from the free-kick on the 41st minute.
Hougang United started the second half from how they ended the first half, having the most possession in the Geylang International’s half. Faris Ramli latched on Shahfiq Ghani’s cross before notching in the second goal for the away side. The Cheetahs kept pushing forward in search for the equalizer but conceded space behind when substitute Amy Recha fed Shawal Anuar with the perfect cross in widening the gap to 4-2.
With 20 minutes to play and all seems a lost cause, the Cheetahs kept pressing forward, winning 50-50 balls. The break came when Anu broke free on the flank before crossing the ball to Shahfiq Ghani for his second goal of the match. The momentum was with the boys in navy.
Iqbal Hussain won a free-kick on the half-way line in the 80th minute, where Afiq Noor spotted Faris Ramli free in the opposition box. His quick thinking sets up a perfect ball for Faris Ramli to level the score at 4-4. The away side were jubilant, so were their supporters in the stands.
The final 10 minutes proves to be nerve wrecking as both teams search for the winner, with chances created on either sides. However, points were shared at the end of the night where Brunei Dpmm was announced as the Singapore Premier League Champions for 2019.
The Cheetahs will now regroup to challenge for the second spot in the SPL table, and gearing for its Singapore Cup competition commencing next Wednesday, 25 September.
Date: 15 September 2019, Sunday
Stadium: Our Tampines Hub
Half-time: Tampines Rovers 3-1 Hougang United
Full-time: Tampines Rovers 4-4 Hougang United
Tampines Rovers: Fareez Farhan 8′, 11′, 28′ Shawal Anuar 70′
Hougang United: Shahfiq Ghani 41′, 75′ Faris Ramli 49′, 80′
Photography: Haiqal Tahir