Hougang United 2-3 Tanjong Pagar United: Plucky Cheetahs unlucky in defeat



Photos by Kallangroar.com


Robert Eziakor 13′, Hasree Zais 52


Hafiz Nor 44′, Ishmael Benahmed 75′, 84′


A fantastic attacking display from the Hougang Boys wasn’t enough to get them any points at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday.

A superb strike from Ishmael Benahmed with six minutes remaining earned the Jaguars an unlikely victory and sent the Cheetahs in despair after promising display on the night.

The Cheetahs were playing without Mamadou Diallo. In his place, Jerome Baker steps in after missing the last four games with a thigh injury. His presence and Liam Shotton, plus their towering height and pace kept the Jaguars’ defence on their heels, up till both were being replaced late in the second half.

It was Shotton-Baker combo that let Hougang to their first goal. After a fast counter attack led by Azhar Sairudin, who let the ball to Shotton. Shotton found Baker on the right side of the pitch. Jerome Baker then coolly crossed the ball towards an unmarked Robert Eziakor, who had all the time in the world to head the ball past Aurelien Heirison. It was Eziakor’s first goal of the season, and the Cheetahs finally found the net after 217 minutes of football.

The Cheetahs fought hard to find a second goal and were dominating the proceedings almost the entire first half. Jerome Baker should have found the net on 39 minutes, after a great cross from Fazly Hasan, however, he managed to find the ball wide.

However, it was the Jaguars who found the elusive equaliser one minute before half time. Ahmad Lattiff crossed the ball into the Hougang box, and found an unmarked Hafiz Nor. The in-form no.11 for Jaguars volleyed it first time, and deflected the ball of Syakir Sulaiman’s head and into the net to tie things up 1-1 at half time.

The Cheetahs came out strongly in the second half and were rewarded a goal on 52 minutes. A freekick from Azhar Sairudin headed stright to Jaguars’ custodian Heirisson. However, the ball slipped away from his hands and dropped straight into Hasree Zais’s path for him to slot the ball into the empty net to make it 2-1 for the Cheetahs.

Cheetahs could have sealed the points on 69 minutes. Substitute Fairoz Hasan, who came in for Shotton, got a fantastic pass from Jerome Baker and he tried to placed the ball into the net, if not for Heirisson’s fantastic fingertip save for a corner.

That proved to be fatal, as the Jaguars found their second equaliser on 75 minutes, when Ahmad Latiff crossed the ball towards Ishmael Benhamed, who headed the ball past Fadhil Salim for 2-2.

The Jaguars went on to seal all three points, with a long punt from Heirisson from the goal kick. Monsef Zerka managed to hed the ball into the path of Benhamed, who volleyed it first time, into the bottom corner of the net to seal all three points.

The Cheetahs were left to wonder what went wrong in the game after coming within a scalp to a victory. However, the season is still at its early stages. They will face a struggling Geylang International side at Bedok Stadium next Wednesday, and Hougang will be sure to take all their frustrations in this game to their next fixture.


Hougang United

Fadhil Salim, Syaqir Sulaiman, Hasree Zais, Fazly Hasan, Jeremy Chiang, Thomas Beattie, Azhar Sairudin, Faizal Amir (Nurhilmi Jasni 87′), Jerome Baker (Sobrie Mazelan 75′). Liam Shotton (Fairoz Hassan 67′), Robert Eziakor.

Tanjong Pagar United

Aurelien Heirrisson, Walid Lounis, Azhar Ahmad, Zahid Ahmad, Asraf Rashid, Hafiz Nor (Vikraman Karuppayah 89′), Monsef Zerka, Ahmad Latiff, Sazali Salleh, Kamel Ramdhani, Ishmael Benahmed.

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