HOUGANG UNITED 4
Geison Moura 8′, 11′, Diego Gama 13′, 74′
TAMPINES ROVERS 2
Alex Duric 60′, Shahdan Sulaiman 80′
If anyone was looking for a night of exciting football on a Saturday evening then Hougang Stadium would be the best place to view a fixture full of drama.
The Cheetahs showed that they were no pushovers when they taught the defending champions a footballing lesson they would not soon forget.
Few had given the Cheetahs any hope of finishing anywhere other than the bottom three places this season and few had also given any chance that the Cheetahs would achieve anything from this fixture.
The Stags had a fixture congestion in three countries in seven days – due to their involvement in the AFC Cup. However, given their record of five wins out of five in the league, many expected the Stags to have the upper hand in the game.
The Cheetahs plundered three goals in the space of five minutes early in the first half, beyond the imagination of any of the Cheetahs’ fans faithful.
Shahdan Sulaiman would have given the Stags a fantastic start on six minutes, but his shot went slightly above the crossbar.
However just a minute later, Japanese dynamo Shunsuke Nakatake executed a wonderful lob, which sent Geison Moura clear into a one-on-one opportunity. The Brazilian capped the move with a lobbed shot that beat Hyrulnizam Jumaat at his near post.
Three minutes later, a cross from Fazli Jaffar was headed down by Durica Zuparic after Tampines failed to gain distance from a corner clearance. Geison Moura rose highest to head home from six yards to give the Cheetahs a two-goal lead before the fifteen minute mark.
The Cheetahs completed the five minute dream goal run when Geison Moura lobbed the ball towards the box for returning hero Diego Gama to rise high and conquer from close range on 13 minutes.
The three goal blitz spurred Tampines into action – with S.League veteran Aleksandar Đurić hitting the post – but most opportunities were covered well by the Cheetahs’ defence and Nazri Sabri’s limited but crucial actions in goal.
Tampines coach Salim Moin then decided to introduce Noh Alam Shah & Ismadi Mokhtar, in place of Miljan Mrdakovic & Ang Zhi Wei to stabilise his line-up and launch an all-out attack to salvage something from the game.
The Stags managed to grab a goal back on 60 minutes when Noh Alam Shah raced clear of the Cheetahs’ backline to slot the ball to the evergreen striker Aleksandar Đurić, who had the simplest of knock-ins into the net.
However, the Cheetahs did not give up attacking.
Diego Gama capped the night with a brilliant move, when he evaded four Tampines players, and set himself up with a goal on 74 minutes, much to the delirium of the near capacity crowd in Hougang Stadium.
By then the Stags had thrown everything to salvage any hopes of earning a point for themselves. They managed to grab another consolation on 80 minutes through an excellent freekick from Shahdan Sulaiman but by then, it was too little too late for the Stags as the Cheetahs claimed maximum points against another title hopeful.
Nazri Sabri, Igor Cerina (c), Durica Zuparic, Wahyudi Wahid, Faizal Amir, Azhar Sairudin, Shunsuke Nakatake, Erwan Gunawan (Nurhilmi Jasni 62′), Fazli Jaffar (Fairoz Hasan 88′), Geison Moura (Firman Hanif 90′), Diego Gama
Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Abdil Qayyim, Norihiro Kawakami, Ang Zhi Wei (Ismadi Mukhtar 46′), Anaz Hadee, Fahrudin Mustafic (c), Luis Alberto Closa (Roberto Martinez 61′), Jamil Ali, Shahdan Sulaiman, Alex Duric, Miljan Mrdakovic (Noh Alam Shah 46′)