HOUGANG UNITED 1
Yuki Uchiyama 34’
HOME UNITED 1
Ken Ilsø Larsen 42’ pen
By Kenneth Tan
Hougang United claimed a second successive draw in as many matches as they held traditional powerhouse Home United to a 1-1 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
Japanese youth international Yuki Uchiyama volleyed the Cheetahs into the lead on 34 minutes but Home’s star forward Ken Ilsø Larsen slotted home a penalty just before the break to ensure both sides had a share of the spoils.
Having dropped two points against Courts Young Lions the last time out, Hougang was keen to make amends as they started the game the brighter side. Hotshot Francisco “Chupe” Ela turned superbly to fire in a half-volley but the spectacular effort went just over the bar.
Home gradually settled into the game and could have broken the deadlock on 24 minutes when keeper Ridhuan Barudin failed to claim Sirina Camara’s corner, but Faizal Amir was at the right place at the right time to clear Nur Hizami Salim’s goal-bound header off the line.
Having survived that scare, the Cheetahs went ahead just after the half-hour mark.
Midfield maestro Shunsuke Nakatake curled a superb freekick into the box which the Home defence failed to deal with. The leather eventually fell into the path of Uchiyama who swivelled well to execute a sweet half-volley that evaded the reach of Home keeper Hyrunizam Juma’at.
However the lead did not last for long as Nakatake was adjudged to have brought down Ilsø inside the penalty area. Despite diving the right way, Ridhuan was unable to keep the former Fortuna Dusseldorf forward’s low effort.
Both sides go into the break with a goal apiece and there was to be no further goals in this contest.
Ilsø somehow headed wide from six yards out after being picked out by Camara’s left-wing cross, while Kamel Ramdani’s header’s from Ang Zhiwei’s freekick looked destined for the bottom corner before Ridhuan’s brilliant one-handed intervention.
That crucial save aided the Cheetahs to maintain their unbeaten start of the season, with two draws in two games. They will next take on Geylang International at the Bedok Stadium on March 12.
Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Faizal Amir, Yuki Uchiyama, Kunihiro Yamashita, Lau Meng Meng, Fairoz Hasan, Shunsuke Nakatake, Nurhilmi Jasni (captain) Matthew Abraham (Ruzaini Zainal 68′), Takahashi Manato, Francisco Ela (Muhaymin Salim 82′).
Home United: Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Ang Zhiwei, Noh Rahman (captain), Abdil Qaiyyim, Redzwan Atan, Ambroise Begue (Stanely Ng 36′), Azhar Sairudin, Song Ui-Young, Sirina Camara (Kamel Ramdani 54′), Nur Hizami Salim (Yasir Hanapi 73′), Ken Ilsø Larsen.