Cheetahs stuns Warriors to put them back on title race

Igor Cerina 18′, 70′; Fazli Jaffar 54′

Miroslav Pejic 8′, Nico Velez 61′

Written off by many in pre-season, the Cheetahs lived off their tag as giant killers, this time dispatching title favourites Warriors FC 3:2 at Hougang Stadium on Sunday evening.

Igor Cerina ended his goal drought by scoring two goals in both halves with mercurial winger Fazli Jaffar getting a goal of his own in between.

Buoyed by their performance at Jurong East four days ago, the Cheetahs declared their their intent early in the game. Geison Moura was twice denied at close range by Hassan Sunny while Faizal Amir had a shot cleared by the Warriors custodian as well.

However, it was the visitors who took the lead on the eight minute. Fadhil Salim’s tame clearance landed on the legs of Pejic, who slammed home for the favourites to take the lead.

It did not took long before the Cheetahs equalized. Igor Cerina chested down a pass from Azhar and slotted the ball home.

In the second half, Shi Jiayi could have given the visitors the lead were it not for Fadhil Salim’s stoppage.

Fazli Jaffar then capitalised on a pass from Diego Gama, beating the offside trap and shooting the ball past an advancing Hassan Sunny to give the home team the lead.

Warriors equalized nine minutes later. Miroslav Pejic’s freekick was latched on by his Chilean team mate Velez.

On the 70th minute, Diego Gama’s freekick was met by Igor Cerina, who scored his second goal of the night with a header to give the Cheetahs a 3-2 lead. The Croatian player was then stretchered off in the 82nd minute.

There was drama on the 85th minute mark when Miroslav Pejic was sent off for a blatant stamp on Diego Gama that sparked a brief melee on the pitch.

Fadhil Salim, Igor Cerina (Fairoz Hasan 82′), Wahyudi Wahid, Faizal Amir, Firman Hanif (Lau Meng Meng 51′), Shunsuke Nakatake, Azhar Sairudin, Nurhilmi Jasni, Fazli Jaffar (Erwan Gunawan 90′), Diego Gama, Geison Moura.

Hassan Sunny, Daniel Bennett, Marin Vidosevic, Irwan Shah, Zulfadhli Zainal Abidin, Dharham Aziz (Hafsyar Farkhan 55′), Shi Jiayi, Hafiz Rahim (Suria Prakash 73′), Kevin McCann, Nico Velez, Miroslav Pejic (sent off 85′)

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