HOUGANG UNITED 2
Kunihiro Yamashita 2’, Chupe 87′
BRUNEI DPMM 3
Paulo Sergio 14’, 19’, Brian McLean 57’
By Kenneth Tan
Hougang United suffered their second defeat of the 2015 Great Eastern-Yeo’s S.League season after going down 3-2 to title contenders Brunei DPMM at the Hougang Stadium on Saturday night.
Despite a dream start which saw Kunihiro Yamashita opening the scoring after just seventy seconds, the Wasps managed to turn things around with two goals from new recruit Paulo Sergio and one from defender Brian McLean.
Hotshot Francisco “Chupe” Ela pulled one back three minutes before the end but it was all too late for the Cheetahs.
In a match which was delayed by one hour and twenty minutes due to the Lighting Warning System being switched on, it was the home side who came rushing out of the blocks and scored through a training ground routine.
After winger Fareez Farhan was brought down by Awangku Fakharazzi outside the box, playmaker Shunsuke Nakatake played in a superb freekick into the six-yard box for compatriot Yamashita to nod firmly past Wardun Yussof.
Stung by the early setback, DPMM went on the attack and forced Hougang to concede a number of corners.
They benefited from one of those for the equalizer on 14 minutes as Sergio diverted home at the far post after receiving a flick-on from Azwan Ali’s corner.
Hougang could have retaken the lead shortly after but Fareez somehow managed to tap wide after Chupe had slipped him through on goal.
They paid the price for that miss on 20 minutes as Rafael Ramazotti flicked down a long ball from Wardun into the path of Sergio, who went past two Hougang defenders before slamming home inside Ridhuan Barudin’s near post.
That goal ensured the Wasps go into the break 2-1 ahead and they duly doubled their advantage 12 minutes after the restart.
Substitute Najib Tarif put in a wicked cross from the left which evaded the Hougang defence, en route to McLean, who planted a superb header beyond the rooted Ridhuan.
Credit to the Cheetahs, they kept trying to reduce the deficit in the final 30 minutes and could have stolen a draw right at the death.
Left back Faiz Salleh strode through on goal on 65 minutes via Chupe’s through pass before seeing his low shot was parried to safety by Wardun.
The lifeline eventually came three minutes before the end of regulation time when Chupe received Yuki Uchiyama’s lofted pass, turned his marker just outside the box before lashing a superb drive into the top left corner.
The Equatoguinean then found another opportunity to score the equalizer but his header from Yamashita’s flick-on was too weak to trouble Wardun.
Eventually the Cheetahs had to settle for the defeat which leaves them in eighth position on the table, with three draws and two defeats.
They will next face defending champions Warriors FC at the Woodlands Stadium on April 9.
Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Faizal Amir, Yuki Uchiyama, Kunihiro Yamashita, Faiz Salleh (Kenneth Chang 87’), Fairoz Hasan (Muhaymin Salim 83’), Renshi Yamaguchi, Shunsuke Nakatake, Nurhilmi Jasni (C), Fareez Farhan (Ruzaini Zainal 66’), Francisco “Chupe” Ela.
Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof (GK), Awangku Fakharrazi (Rosmin Kamis 74’), Sairol Sahari (C) (Azwan Saleh 74’), Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Najib Tarif 46’), Aminuddin Zakwan, Azwan Ali, Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.
Photo credit: S.League