Photo Credits: Goal Singapore
HOUGANG UNITED 2
Fazli Jaffar 65′, Liam Shotton 69′
BALESTIER KHALSA 0
The Cheetahs capped off an amazing performance around the pitch, as they brought a two goal advantage to Toa Payoh Stadium for the 2nd Leg on Friday.
Goals from mercurial winger Fazli Jaffar and Liam Shotton had the Cheetahs a 2-0 victory, something they badly needed for the last seven games.
However, it was wonderful performance all around the pitch, from the spectacular saves of Fadhil Salim, the dogged spirit of Captain Lau Meng Meng, the spraying of passes by Azhar Sairudin, the runs by Jerome Baker, Fazli Jaffar and Nurhilmi Jasni, the rough tackles of Igor Cerina and Tom Beattie, it was a highly entertaining fixture for fans and neutrals alike.
The Cheetahs were handed a bad news, that Guinean top cat Mamadou Diallo was out for the game and doubtful for the 2nd leg at Toa Payoh, but the Cheetahs gave a warning shot for the Tigers that they are no easy meat in cup competitions
The Cheetahs were initially struggling to find their foot in the first half, only to find themselves at the attacking area on 30th minute, with Jerome Baker’s tame shot was caught easily by Zaiful Nizam.
The Tigers had an early departure for Paul Cunningham, who was clearly struggling early in the game with an injury. Poh Yi Feng took his place to conjure up chances, and it was his cross which almost found the end of Zulkiffli Hashim, who found the side netting, with only Fadhil Salim to beat.
However the Cheetahs almost took a valuable lead on 43 minutes, when Shotton managed to evade his marker in the box, with only Zaiful Nizam to beat, but the Tigers’ custodian managed to punch the ball to safety.
The first half went scoreless, however the Cheetahs had an intent to grab a victory in the second half.
Half chances went bagging, with Igor Cerina’s header from a free kick and Liam Shotton’s chance from six yards out went bagging, but with the introduction of Faizal Amir and Nurhilmi Jasni managed to tilt the game in the Cheetahs’ favour.
Jerome Baker was influential in the Cheetahs’ attack. On 65 minutes, an exchange with Nurhilmi Jasni on the right flank, and the Canadian managed to cross it towards a looming Fazli Jaffar, who gave a looping header and into the goal, which sent the Hougang HOOLS into raptures. It was his first competitive goal of the season.
The HOOLS have yet to celebrate enough for their first goal, when Baker, again demonstrating his attacking prowess, by heading the ball towards Liam Shotton, who volleyed his ball first time and blast it into the net, much to the home fans’ delight.
Balestier responded by sending in Qiu Li and Hamqamal Shah to find the elusive goal, however, the Cheetahs held on for the valuable two goal lead.
Fadhil Salim, Igor Cerina, Syaqir Sulaiman (Shahir Hamzah 70′), Lau Meng Meng, Fazly Hasan (Faizal Amir 60′), Azhar Sairudin, Thomas Beattie, Fairoz Hasan (Nurhilmi Jasni 60′), Fazli Jaffar, Jerome Baker, Liam Shotton
Zaiful Nizam, Paul Cunningham (Poh Yi Feng 22′), Gabriel Obadin, Syed Thaha, Yusiskandar Yusop, Tengku Mushadad, Park Kang-jin, Rohaizad Ismail (Hamqamal Shah 72′), Kim Min-ho, Zulkifli Hasim, Vitor Borges (Qiu Li 72′)