The last time Hougang United crossed the causeway for a competitive outing, they walked away with a 4:3 win over Harimau Muda at the Pasir Gudang Stadium in Johor. That narrow win came over a year ago, back when the Young Tigers were an under 21 side, and in three encounters since, the Cheetahs have lost twice and drew once with the Malaysian side. On Wednesday night, a revamped Harimau Muda – now an under 22 team – await them at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka.
The Young Tigers have impressed this year with 5 wins from 12 games, a marked improvement from 2014’s bottom placed finish that saw them getting just 6 wins from 27 games. Hougang United had the unfortunate distinction of being the only club that lost twice to the development team that year but neither side have gain an advantage over the other this season following a 3:3 draw at Hougang Stadium in the first round.
A rather dubious streak between the two sides has seen a player sent off in each of their past four encounters. All three matches last year saw a Cheetah sent off while the draw in April had a Young Tiger dismissed. That was Harimau Muda’s only red card this season while Hougang United has avoided receiving any themselves.
Since the resumption of the league, both teams have experienced mixed results. Harimau Muda won twice, including an upset win over title contenders Albirex Niigata (S), and lost their other three games. Hougang United similarly boast just two wins, also including an upset win over another title contender, Warriors, with their three games resulting in a draw and two losses. The solitary point from the draw – against yet another title contender, Brunei DPMM – has allowed the Cheetahs to narrow the gap from Harimau Muda. Now only two points separates the two sides and a win from the Cheetahs will see them take over their rivals’ seventh place in the table. The Young Tigers though have four games in hand and a win for them would put them five points ahead of Hougang United.
Harimau Muda vs Hougang United F.C.
2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League
19th August 2015, Wednesday
8:00 pm, Hang Jebat Stadium, Melaka, Malaysia