HARIMAU MUDA 1
Ridzuan Abdunloh 70′
HOUGANG UNITED 1
Nurhilmi Jasni 54′
Harimau Muda wins 5-4 on penaties
The Cheetahs were unfortunate in the Starhub League Cup Plate semifinals, as they were defeated on penalty kicks, at the hands of Harimau Muda at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday evening.
Despite the fixture congestion and the unhealthy haze-filled pitch which marred the status of the game, both teams were giving all their might to get a consolation silverware.
The Cheetahs were giving starts to Fazly Hasan, Jeremy Chiang, Fairoz Hasan, Sobrie Mazelan and Robert Eziakor to give them an opportunity to show their prowess against a young Harimau side, desperate to get some silverware in their debut season (for the current line up).
Eziakor, who had probably played his last game (giving way to new signing Igor Cerina), almost gave the Cheetahs the lead on 13 minutes. Azhar Sairudin floated the pass to an incoming Syaqir Sulaiman. Seeing that goalkeeper Ramdhan Hamid was onrushing towards him, he slots the ball to Eziakor, and despite under pressure by the Harimau defence, he managed to shot it towards goal, but way wide off the mark.
Fairoz Hasan made his appearance count with a splendid volley off Fazly Hasan’s corner kick, but it went wide past the Harimau goal.
Despite the chances, both teams were looking slightly tired, due to the worsening haze, that reached the level of 155 by half time, but the game did went on to the second half.
Johana Johari decided to introduce speedy winger Nurhilmi Jasni and Liam Shotton, in place of Sobrie Mazelan and Robert Eziakor respectively at the start of the second half and it paid dividends.
On 54 minutes, Fazly Hasan sent a wonderful corner kick towards the Harimau defence. From the defence melee, the 1.70m Nurhilmi Jasni rose up high to head the ball towards the goal, and past Ramdhan Hamid for the elusive lead for Hougang.
The Cheetahs almost increased the lead seven minutes later. Liam Shotton and Jeremy Chiang combining well on the right. From a tight angle, Liam Shotton passed the ball towards Mamadou Diallo, however the Harimau defence was well alert to clear the danger.
Harimau Muda were disappointing in their attacking half, but on 67 minutes, they almost scored from a counter attack. Areff Kamarudhin managed to steer past Fairoz Hasan and Syaqir Sulaiman and unleashed a powerful shot that struck the crossbar. Faizat Ghazali got onto the rebound and headed the ball towards goal, but it went slightly above the crossbar.
However, two minutes later, hesitancy by Azhar Sairudin was made dispossessed by Ridzuan Abdunloh. The 18-year old managed to dash towards Fadhil Salim, and dink the ball above the custodian to give Harimau Muda an equalizer.
Both teams went for the offensive for every single chance, however, the game went to penalties with the score tied 1-1 at half time.
Harimau Muda converted all their penalty kicks. For Hougang, Azhar Sairudin, Liam Shotton, Fazly Hasan and Syaqir Sulaiman converted their penalty kicks. However, Ramadhan Hamid became the unlikely hero when he saved a spotkick from Hasree Zais, that brought Harimau Muda to the plate finals, to the expense of the Cheetahs.
Fadhil Salim, Syaqir Sulaiman, Hasree Zais, Fazly Hasan, Jeremy Chiang, Azhar Sairudin, Fairoz Hasan, Basit Hamid (Fazli Jaffar 78′), Sobrie Mazelan (Nurhilmi Jasni 45′), Mamadou Diallo, Robert Eziakor (Liam Shotton 45′)
Ramdhan Hamid, S Vikneswaran (Maxsius Musa 55′), Ashmawi Yakin, Asri Mardzuki, Nashriq Yahya, Nur Areff Kamaruddin, Osman Yusoff, Ridzuan Abdunloh, Hanif Dzahir (Akmal Ishak 86′), Iskandar Hanapiah, Faizat Ghazli