HOUGANG UNITED 2
Liam Shotton 24′, Igor Cerina 65′
TAMPINES ROVERS 3
Shaiful Esah 38′, Khairul Amri 44′, Kunihiro Yamashita 81′
The Cheetahs lost their fourth game on the trot, and are on a six game winless streak dated from the Singapore Cup Victory against the same opposition at Hougang Stadium yesterday.
Losing 2-3 to the league leaders Tampines Rovers, however they did threatened to snatch some points at some point of time in the game.
The Cheetahs were missing three of the most influential players on the pitch – Faizal Amir, Syaqir Sulaiman and Thomas Beattie, all suspended for this game after collecting five yellow cards . In their place – Fazly Hasan, Liam Shotton and Shahir Hamzah took their places in the starting eleven.
Tampines look menacingly dangerous, especially with Mustafic Fahrudin and Alexander Duric combo, which troubled them in the corresponding fixture earlier in May, look ever-menacing and they almost scored early in the first minute, if not for Jamil Ali’s late arrival from a cross from Shahdan Sulaiman.
However, the Cheetahs almost took the lead in the sixth minute. Mamadou Diallo’s long piledriver hitting the crossbar and out for a goalkick. However, as time goes on, the Cheetahs took a stronghold of the first half and almost had a great chance in the 18th minute.
Jerome Baker got past his marker from a cross from Nurhilmi Jasni. Unmarked, and with only the gaping goal in mercy, Baker headed wide for a goalkick.
However, Baker made amends when his superb run from the right wing, enabled him to go past Ahmad Fahmie. The Canadian managed to cross the ball towards Liam Shotton. Stags custodian Ridhuan Barudin managed to take hold of the ball, however the ball slipped of his grasp. Liam Shotton managed to capitalise on the mistake, to take the Cheetahs into a shock lead on 24 minutes.
However, Tampines equalised when Shaiful Esah took a direct freekick from just outside the Cheetahs penalty box. The Singapore international managed to blast the ball towards the top corner for the elusive equaliser.
Things went awry for the Cheetahs just before half time. A corner kick for the Stags managed to find substitute Khairul Amri to head home from the corner. However, it came at a price as he clashed heads with Nurhilmi Jasni, that caused both wingers’ heads to be bandaged at half time.
The Cheetahs decided to go for the offensive to break the string of defeats by throwing Fairoz Hasan for the injured Nurhilmi Jasni at half time.
The substitution worked initially, with Fairoz providing the missing link in the middle. Jerome Baker and Diallo had chances that was blasted high above the goal. However, a well-worked freekick in the 65th minute, would prove to be the move of the season.
Azhar Sairudin floated a freekick high above the Stags’ defensive wall. In a stroke of genius, Igor Cerina followed the tracking of the ball, and managed to dive a full body length to nudge the ball into a net, past a helpless Ridhuan Barudin for the equalizer.
That put the Stags to force Caramelo and Firdaus Kasman on. And they managed a winning goal on 81 minutes, after fantastic passing from outside the box, found Kunihiro Yamashita to dink above Fadhil Salim for the winner.
The Cheetahs ended the game one place above the basement team, and the Stags increasing their lead at the top of the table.
Fadhil Salim, Igor Cerina, Shahir Hamzah, Lau Meng Meng, Fazly Hasan, Azhar Sairudin (Hasree Zais 86′), Fazli Jaffar, Nurhilmi Jasni (Fairoz Hasan 45′), Mamadou Diallo, Jerome Baker, Liam Shotton
Ridhuan Barudin, Seiji Kaneko, Mustafic Fahrudin, Jufri Taha, Shaiful Esah, Kunihiro Yamashita, Ahmad Fahmie (Khairul Amri 31′), Shahdan Sulaiman, Vitor Ladeiras (Firdaus Kasman 77′), Jamil Ali (Diogo Caramelo 77′), Alexander Duric