League Cup • July 22, 2014
Herisson The Hero As Hougang Suffer Penalty Heartbreak
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Aurelien Herisson proved to be the hero for Tanjong Pagar United as he made two important stops in the penalty shootout to help his team advance to the StarHub League Cup Final at the expense of high-flying Hougang United with a 4-2 win on penalties.
After the scores were tied after 120 minutes in their semi-final clash, penalties were needed to decide the winner and it was Tanjong Pagar who emerged trumps at Queenstown Stadium on Monday evening.
The Jaguars will now face Brunei DPMM – who similarly beat Geylang International on penalties in the other semi-final – in the final at Jalan Besar Stadium this Friday.
With skipper Ahmad Latiff suspended, Firdaus Idros – who netted the winner in their quarter-final clash the last time out – partnered Monsef Zerka upfront and the duo were supported by Kamel Ramdani and Sebastien Etiemble.
In a game where it was evenly-matched throughout, both teams had their fair share of chances to score but were unable to make them count.
Three minutes into the game, Igor Ferreira found himself on the end of a Geison Moura knockdown and fired one towards goal. However, he was thwarted by Zerka who was at the right place and time to block the shot.
Hougang then came close again as Diego Gama struck a 25-yard freekick which sailed just over in the 15th minute before Moura blasted over from a volley ten minutes later.
After being under the cosh for the past half hour, the home side finally created their first real opportunity of the game and nearly scored against the run of play.
Zerka was released by Etiemble on the edge of the box but with only Fadhil Salim to beat, the former shot tamely at the Cheetahs goalkeeper.
It was Tanjong Pagar who finished the half stronger though as Etiemble saw his effort kept out by Fadhil at the near post on 42 minutes with referee W. Ravisanthiran bringing first-half proceedings to an end soon after.
Shortly after the restart, Fazli Jaffar nearly put his side ahead when he latched onto Gama’s lofted pass but could only fire narrowly wide.
Ferreira had another excellent chance to break the deadlock in the 68th minute when he connected with Shunsuke Nakatake’s cross with an acrobatic shot but it beat Herisson and not the upright.
Six minutes later, Zerka found himself in a similar situation after receiving a pass from Firdaus but Fadhil showed good reactions to push the Moroccan’s shot away for a corner.
With neither team able to find a goal after 90 minutes, the game headed for extra-time but still, the winner could not be decided as penalties ensued.
After both teams had successfully converted their first two kicks, Fazli had his penalty saved by Herisson who went the right away to keep it out to hand the advantage to the Jaguars.
Ramdani then made it 3-2 before Herisson denied Fairoz Hasan this time with Anthony Aymard then dispatching the winning penalty to send the Tanjong Pagar fans into ecstasy.