HOUGANG UNITED 0
ALBIREX NIIGATA SINGAPORE 0
The Cheetahs continued their superb mid season form so far, this time holding a difficult Albirex side 0-0 at Hougang Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Cheetahs had just eliminated league leaders Tampines Rovers out of the Singapore Cup, and were looking to upset the White Swans, whom before yesterday, were the only side whom Hougang have not taken any points so far this season.
It was a wet Wednesday evening on the Hougang pitch, and with Johana Johari keeping faith in the side which beat Tampines a week ago.
Jerome Baker continued to impress the fans with his resurgent form this season with his timely runs into the Albirex defence, however, his shooting accuracy still needs to be improved with a shot right to the side netting.
Fazli Jaffar had an opportunity from a Thomas Beattie cross at the half hour mark, however, his weak shot landed into Hiroaki Hara’s safe hands.
It took Albirex nearly forty minutes to test Hougang’s in-form custodian Fadhil Salim, with Kento Nagasaki’s shot being parried away by the Hougang custodian.
However, the second half brought a different Albirex side, as they went to fire all fronts to find the elusive lead. However, Fadhil Salim proved to be the defensive wall for the Cheetahs, with shots from Nagasaki and Bruno Castanheira all being parried away safely by the 30-year old.
The Cheetahs too had few chances in the second half, however, they almost went close with Fazli Jaffar, after a good run by Jerome Baker and a fine pass, however, the mercurial winger’s shot went up high the Albirex net.
Albirex almost had a last minute winner, with Kazuki Sakamoto having a one-on-one opportunity against Fadhil Salim, however, Shahir Sulaiman, whose having his best performance this season, managed to clear the ball at the right place at the right time.
The Cheetahs and the Swans have a point each, with Albirex facing the Eagles of Geylang International on June 8, and Hougang facing the Eagles at Bedok on June 11 to conclude the outcome of Group C.
Fadhil Salim, Syaqir Sulaiman, Shahir Hamzah, Lau Meng Meng, Faizal Amir, Azhar Sairudin (Hasree Zais 87′), Thomas Beattie, Fazli Jaffar, Nurhilmi Jasni, Mamadou Diallo, Jerome Baker (Basit Hamid 77′)
Hiroaki Hara, Itsuki Yamada, Kento Fukada, Masahiro Ishikawa, Takeshi Nagasawa, Yuki Ichikawa, Kazuya Fukuzaki (Shingo Suzuki 46′), Kento Nagasaki, Masatake Sato, Bruno Castanheira, Kazuki Sakamoto