News • March 11, 2016
Dominating Victory For Cheetahs Against Young Lions
Written By: Elika Nonan Mercado
Hougang United took home maximum points for only the second time in their Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2016 campaign after a 3-1 victory against the Garena Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
A brace from Stipe Plazibat as well as an own-goal by Taufiq Muqminin was enough for the visitors as Fareez Farhan grabbed a consolation goal for the hosts.
The win for the Cheetahs saw them leapfrogged Tampines Rovers into third place while the Young Lions remained in seventh with three points.
The visitors got off to a dream start when Plazibat gave them the lead just four minutes into the game after a long ball out of defence found Nazrul Nazari and the winger hooked the ball across the face of the goal for the Croatian to head the ball into an empty net.
Conceding the early goal did not seem to faze the Young Lions as their excellent defense led by goalkeeper Benjamin Bertrand repealed everything that was thrown at them.
Fareez then came close to helping his side pull level, but saw his free-kick flew just over the top of the crossbar in the 12th minute.
Soon after, Nazrul linked up well with Hougang’s captain Jozef Kaplan and sent the latter through on goal with a defence-splitting pass. However, Bertrand did well to block the Slovakian’s shot with his legs.
Just before the interval, a corner from Fumiya Kogure found Wahyudi Wahid, but the defender’s header flashed harmlessly across the goalmouth.
The Cheetahs emerged from the break sharp and dangerous, as they searched for a second goal and almost succeeded when Fumiya Kogure found an unmarked M. Anumanthan on the right and the latter sent a low cross into the box.
To the Young LIons’ relief, Marcus Adi Wheeler was well positioned to clear the ball to safety.
Hougang then doubled their lead six minutes into the second period when Kaplan made a run into the 18-yard box from the left flank and attempted to square the ball for Plazibat. However, his pass deflected off Taufiq and into the goal.
The Young Lions pulled a goal back when substitute Zulfadhmi Suzliman cut-back found Fareez, who finished from close-range with aplomb in the 79th minute.
The goal rejuvenated the Young Lions as they poured forward in search of an equaliser, but were caught out on the break as Plazibat poked the ball home from Kaplan’s knockdown in the 83rd minute.
Kaplan should have scored the Cheetahs’ fourth goal two minutes before time, but sent his volley from substitute Nurhilmi Jasni’s header inches wide of the mark as the final whistle soon after.
Hougang United FC coach K. Balagumaran: “It’s a good win for us, but knowing the opponents in our young team, up and coming players from the new setup, so I think I should give credit to the player also for the young lions, the way they played.
“They did not give us an easy game, so I think it was good for us, for 3 points.”
Garena Young Lions coach Patrick Hesse: “Today also, I think that the average age [in the team] is only 19, that is very young players, they must learn. I am sure that in the second round the team will be better.”
“For the moment, there is no balance in our team, that’s sure. But today, I think we showed some good things during the game; we had the will to play.”
Hougang United FC: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Ali Hudzaifi (Afiq Noor 26’), Delwinder Singh, Fairoz Hasan (63’ Nur Ridho), M.Anumanthan, Jozef Kaplan (C), Fumiya Kogure, Stipe Plazibat,Nazrul Nazari, Raihan Rahman, Wahyudi Wahid
Garena Young Lions: Benjamin Bertrand (GK), Marcus Adi Wheeler (65’ Joshua Pereira), Ammirul Emmran, Fareez Farhan, Hami Syahin (73’ Mulhemy Suhaimi), Adam Swandi, Gareth Low(Jonathan Tan 36’ (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 73’)), Firdaus Kasman (C) , Taufiq Muqminin, Ryan Syaffiq, Rusyaidi Salime