Twenty days since their previous match, Hougang United will finally get to resume their 2015 S.League campaign when they face off against Home United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening – weather permitting, of course. The ongoing haze enveloping the country has already affected the competition with two matches postponed, including Home United’s prior scheduled meeting with Geylang International on Monday night. The Cheetahs too have been affected with a postponed game though their Sunday bout against the Young Lions had been pushed to the end of the month because of the nation’s general election.
Home United has endured a topsy turvy season. After starting relatively well with 1 win and 3 draws in their first four games, they came apart after key players Ken Ilso and Noh Rahman suffered injuries. In their first game without the two players, they were thrashed 1:4 by Warriors. In reaction, head coach Philippe Aw adopted a 3:4:3 formation, which initially seemed to pay dividends as they won their next game 3:1 over Balestier Khalsa. That turned out to be a false dawn though as the team went out on a bad run of form with four losses in their next six games. Their only win during this sequence was a 4:0 win over Hougang United – ironically, their highest margin of victory this season.
The League Cup saw them dropping the 3:4:3 formation with Ken Ilso returning from injury and Prime League centreback R. Aaravin entrusted to partner Abdil Qaiyyim in Noh Rahman’s continued absence. They still lost their first game, a 2:0 defeat by Albirex in the cup tournament, but that too turned out to be another false dawn as they subsequently embarked on a remarkable turnaround in form. In the 9 games since that loss, the Protectors have won five games and drawn four times. They had gone from losing 6 out of 9 games to being undefeated in their next 9 games. And this good run had occurred despite further losses in key personnel. Redzwan Atan and Song-Ui Young both suffered injuries that have kept them out of action since July while the likes of Abdil, Fazli Ayob, Yasir Hanapi and Sirina Camara have missed matches through suspensions. The latter will miss the game against Hougang United.
Their top scorer, Ilso, has contributed 7 goals and 7 assists in 14 matches across all competition, thus averaging either a goal or an assist every 90 minutes. Former Cheetah playmaker Azhar Sairudin has solidify his place in the starting eleven during the team’s undefeated run and he now stands as their second highest scorer with 6 goals and 1 assist.
For Hougang United, that 4:0 loss to the Protectors proved to be a turning point as they subsequently won their first match of the season in their very next game. An overhaul followed during the mid-season transfer window and the team’s form has subsequently improved over the league’s second round. The Cheetahs will undoubtedly be looking towards getting some measure of revenge when they face Home United for the very last time this season.
Hougang United F.C. vs Home United F.C.
2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League
17th September 2015, Thursday
7:30 pm, Jalan Besar Stadium