HOUGANG UNITED 1
COURTS YOUNG LIONS 1
Iqbal Hussain 16′
By George Ng
Hougang United snapped a four-game losing streak against the Courts Young Lions as they held the developmental outfit to a 1-1 draw at Hougang Stadium on Monday night.
The Cheetahs fielded a new-look team in their opening fixture, handing debuts to several new signings such as foreign import Francisco Ela, and former Young Lions man, Fareez Farhan.
Iqbal Hussain opened the scoring in the 16th minute with new import Francisco “Chupe” Ela equalising for the Cheetahs just three minutes later.
It was a game of missed chances as both teams enjoyed several opportunities to gain the upper hand throughout the game.
The first real chance came early in the first half with Shamil Sharif floating a delicious ball into the box but his teammates failed to capitalise on his excellent delivery.
Hougang United winger Fairoz Hasan then hit a rasping first time shot with Syazwan Buhari had to stretch fully to keep his team level.
The Young Lions then took the lead in the 16th minute with Iqbal firing a low shot outside the box to Ridhuan Barudin’s left which the newly-signed custodian rooted to his spot.
Hougang midfield dynamo Shunsuke Nakatake then sent in a delicious ball three minutes later over the Young Lions defence, with Chupe latching on before unleashing a superb shot in to the top corner with his preferred left foot.
20-year-old debutant Yuki Uchiyama was then adjudged to have handled the ball in the area on 36 minutes, with Iqbal being called upon to take the resulting spot-kick.
All eyes were on Ridhuan and the Hougang custodian did not disappoint as he dived to his right to parry the 21-year-old’s low effort – denying the Young Lions from retaking the lead in the process.
The home faithful’s cheers were resounding and the Cheetahs grew in confidence thereafter.
Tricky winger Fareez was teasing the Young Lions fullbacks with his dazzling runs and was almost rewarded when his stinging attempt nearly caught out opposite custodian Syazwan Buhari.
The second half eventually ended goalless as both sides failed to make the most of their chances in the attacking third.
In a game of missed chances, it was perhaps fair that both teams had to settle for a point apiece.
Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Faizal Amir, Yuki Uchiyama, Kunihiro Yamashita, Lau Meng Meng, Fairoz Hasan (Matthew Abraham 86′), Shunsuke Nakatake, Nurhilmi Jasni (captain), Fareez Farhan, Francisco Salvador Ela, Takahashi Manato.
Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Fadli Kamis, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Amirul Adli, Shakir Hamzah (captain), Shamil Sharif, Farhan Rahmat (Ammirul Emmran 90′), Anumanthan Mohan Kumar, Afiq Mat Noor (Nur Na’iim Ishak 74′), Suria Prakash, Iqbal Hussain.