HOUGANG UNITED 2
Liam Shotton 75′, Sobrie Mazelan 79′
LIONS XII 1
Iqbal Hussein 83′
All the excitement in Singapore was into the FA Cup Final 6th Round replay between Chelsea and Manchester United, however, a few football enthusiasts, including the Hougang Hools were at Hougang Stadium on Monday to witness a stunning match right before their eyes.
The Cheetahs, currently third from bottom in the S.League standings, stunned the current MSL leaders, LionsXII, with a 2-1 scoreline that few have even predicted right before the match.
Some would have said that the Cheetahs were facing a much weakened Lions XII side, with the likes of Izwan Mahbud, Baihakki Khaizan, Isa Halim, Fazrul Nawaz and Shahril Ishak all seated out during this game, with the crunch match against Perak FA next weekend bearing their minds. However, the team is still blessed with upcoming talents, all awaiting to replace the current crop of National Team players.
The first half was a sombre affair, with both teams outmuscling each other in all departments. Custodian Ridzuan Fatah, standing in for Fadhil Salim and his opposite number Khairulhin Khalid making great saves to prevent each sides from having an advantage into half time.
However, the second half saw a more fluid Hougang United playing 4-4-2 with Basit Hamid impressing the crowds and making a selection headache for coach Alex Weaver with his timely runs on the left wing with his pinpoint crosses to Liam Shotton and Jerome Baker.
It was his pinpoint cross from the left that found an unmarked Liam Shotton in the box. The Stoke-born forward gleefully headed home to give the home side a shocking lead.
Four minutes later, a Sobrie and Nurhilmi Jasni combo, which troubled the Tampines youngsters on Saturday night, this time their one two exchange passes split the Lions XII defence open, and Sobrie slotted home past Khairulhin for a 2-0 for Hougang.
However, the Lions XII team managed to grab a consolation goal through former Gombak striker Iqbal Hussein on 83 minutes. By the time, it was too late for the visitiors and the home side, needing some confidence booster, might have found the solution to revive their S.League season.
The Cheetahs will next face Malaysian Premier League side Johor United at Pasir Gudang Stadium on Friday 5pm.