First game of the 2020 season saw the Cheetahs taking on the Young Lions at Jurong West Stadium. With Jalan Besar Stadium undergoing re-turfing this year, Young Lions will play all their home games in the western side of Singapore.
The Cheetahs saw 4 debutant in the starting line-up. Zachary Anderson, Anders Aplin and Charlie Machell all making their first SPL starts while Daniel Martens, re-joined from Albirex Niigata (S) makes his first competitive appearance for the Club.
With the kick-off, the home team’s game plan was to press all the balls whenever the Cheetahs were in possession, not allowing time for the away side time on the ball.
The break through came on the 7th minute when Afiq Noor played in a cross from the left which evades everyone in the box, before reaching Stipe Plazibat to tap in for his 50th goal in his SPL career.
With the opening goal, Hougang United started to gain foothold in the contest. A well-timed pass from Anumanthan releases Farhan through on goal. Young Lions’ goalkeeper, Ridhwan Fikri made a fantastic stop from Farhan’s shot but the rebound was half clear, which then falls to Jordan Vestering. The left-back’s first touch shot rifles in to the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-0 for the away side.
Young Lions, whom have beaten the Cheetahs twice in 2019 season soon conceded the third goal when Jacob Mahler fouled Stipe Plazibat in the box. The forward makes no mistake by converting the resulting spot-kick. 3-0 up at the break seems to be a comfortable lead for the away team.
The second half paint a different story as the Cheetahs were finding difficulty to string passes together. Young Lions started to capitalize as IIhan Fandi scored in the 57th minute. Nur Adam’s cross from the left found IIhan unmarked in the box, before directing his header across goal.
As the home side were pushing men forward, the Cheetahs struck the fourth goal as Stipe Plazibat recorded his hat-trick and 52nd goal in his SPL career.
Date: 1 March, Sunday 2020
Stadium: Jurong West Stadium
Half-time: Young Lions 0 – 3 Hougang united
Full-time: Young Lions 1 – 4 Hougang united
Young Lions: IIhan Fandi 57′
Hougang United: Stipe Plazibat 7′, 43′ (P), 90′; Jordan Vestering 35′
Photography: Haiqal Tahir