Photo Credits: Goal Singapore
HOME UNITED 0
HOUGANG UNITED 3
Fazli Jaffar 31′, Mamadou Diallo 57′, Jerome Baker 76′
It was the game that few would give second-from-bottom Cheetahs to grab any points away at Bishan, neither anyone gave them any chance of a victory.
However, on Thursday evening, the Cheetahs handsomely won the plaudits of the 2000- odd supporters in the Bishan Stadium, by teaching the Protectors a footballing lesson, by beating them 3-0.
The victory marks a first time in history, for Hougang to win the double against their Northeastern rivals, and their biggest victory margin ever.
Coach Amin Nasir kept the majority of his team that beat Harimau Muda at Pasir Gudang the last time round, with only Fazly Hasan out through suspension. Home had Mustaqim Manzur, Indra Sahdan and Ismail Yunos missing, however, they still have the firepower upfront in the shape of former Hougang winger Jordan Webb.
The Cheetahs showed their intent in the game by pressurizing the home team from the final whistle and were having a large percentage of possession in the first half. Mamadou Diallo particularly being a thorn in the Protectors’ defence, often getting past the defence, however, he only managed half chances in the early minutes.
However, at the half-hour mark, the Cheetahs got a breakthrough. Azhar Sairudin floated a freekick high above the Protectors defence, and it was Hougang’s mercurial winger Fazli Jaffar, who headed the ball towards Shahril Jantan. The veteran custodian however, didn’t managed to deal with the ball proper and bundled over the goal line for a precious lead.
The next ten minutes was a game of glaring misses. First, Fairoz Hasan managed to dispossess Sev’ki Shaban. With only Shahril Jantan to beat, the forwards managed to dink the ball above the custodian, however, his shot went slightly wide, much to the disappointment of the Hougang Hools, who were clearly providing a great match atmosphere throughout the evening.
Home was also within inches of their equalizer. A corner from Lee Kwan Woo minutes before half time was flicked by Sevki Sha’ban. With the goal mouth gaping and Firdous Idros favourties to latch on the ball, he managed to do a tame shot, that was saved on the goal line by Fadhil Salim.
Home replied by introducing Choi Jaeweon and Hizami at the start of second half, however, Hougang continued to apply lots of pressure to the home side. An excellent long pass from Nurhilmi Jasni was met by Fairoz Hasan, however, an onrushing Shahril Jantan prevented the goal early in the second half.
However, the Cheetahs managed a second goal from a sheer moment of brilliance from Mamadou Diallo. The long serving Guinean latched on a clearance from Syaqir Sulaiman and raced almost the entire length of the pitch. An initial cross towards Fairoz Hasan was initially blocked by Sevki Sha’ban, however the ball rebounded to the Guinean, and he lashed out a thunderbolt that went past a helpless Shahril Jantan for a two goal lead on 57 minutes.
The Home United fans who outnumbered the Hougang fans were visibly stunned, and with Fadhil Salim in a fantastic mood to deny a potential screamer from Jumaat Jantan, the Cheetahs were in majestic form and the mood to turn this game into a one sided affair.
The game was visibly ended for the Protectors as Azhar Sairudin’s perfected cross was met by substitute Jerome Baker on 76 minutes. The Canadian managed to bundle in the ball into the net for a shocking 3-0 lead.
It could be four for Hougang on 82 minutes, however, Mamadou Diallo managed to struck the post after being sent clear by Jerome Baker. The Cheetahs remained second from bottom even with a win, however, it was their second successive victory, and retained bragging rights in the northeastern part of Singapore.
Fadhil Salim, Igor Cerina, Syaqir Sulaiman, Faizal Amir, Lau Meng Meng, Thomas Beattie, Azhar Sairudin, Nurhilmi Jasni (Liam Shotton 75′), Fazli Jaffar, Fairoz Hasan (Jerome Baker 75′), Mamadou Diallo (Sobrie Mazelan 87′)
Shahril Jantan, Sirina Camara, Sev’ki Shaban, Juma’at Jantan, Nor Azli Yusoff (Kwon Daekyung 72′), Lee Kwan Woo, Hafiz Rahim (Choi Jaeweon 45′), Haziq Azman (Hizami 45′), Firdous Idros, Masrezwan Masturi, Jordan Webb