Singapore Premier League • May 16, 2014
Late Gama Penalty Denies Woodlands Victory
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Woodlands Wellington were denied their third victory of the season right at the death as they conceded a penalty which Diego Gama converted to leave the hosts with only a point after a 1-1 draw with Hougang United.
The spot-kick, which came in the 92nd minute, cancelled out Chang Jo Yoon’s opener in the first half.
The Rams came into the game following defeats to Brunei DPMM and Harimau Muda, and badly needed a result to get their season back on track.
The motivation to perform served the home team well, as they dominated the game right from the start with good passing and penetration through the flanks by Moon Soon Ho and Fadhil Noh.
On the other hand, the Cheetahs found the Woodlands’ backline unbreakable and had to resort to long-range shots.
The first real opportunity fell in the hands of Hougang United’s Shunsuke Nakate who saw his thunderous 25-yard strike whizz past the near post in the 22nd minute.
Five minutes later, Nurhilmi Jasni decided to have a go of his own after being allowed the luxury of time and space, but Yazid Yasin was equal to the task as he kept the shot out for a corner.
Woodlands’ swift movements throughout the pitch soon awarded them with the opener in the 28th minute through Chang.
After a corner was cleared by the Rams, Atsushi Shimono intelligently read the run of Moon at the left by sweeping a through pass to the South Korean.
With some step-overs to wrongfoot his marker, Moon then attempted a powerful shot from outside the penalty box which got acrobatically parried away by Fadhil Salim. Unfortunately it fell into the path of Chang and he neatly placed his finish into the bottom corner.
The visitors tried keeping their hopes alive by nearly getting back into the game barely a minute later, as Fairoz Hasan saw his header bounce inches wide off the post.
The second half saw a tighter encounter as Hougang pushed for the equaliser while Woodlands were keen on doubling their advantage.
Substitute Erwan Gunawan’s appearance created more sparks in attack for the Cheetahs and his curler in the 75th minute just flew wide off the upright.
Chang could have claimed his brace and sealed victory but his free-kick was pushed away by Fadhil.
Things then seemingly turned for the worse for the visitors when Faizal Amir received his marching orders following a second bookable offence in the 90th minute mark.
However, just when it was thought that the the game was going to end in Woodlands’ favour, the Rams’ faithfuls were silenced when Andy Ahmad brought down Nakatake in the second minute of injury time. Diego sent Yazid the wrong way to send the Hougang fans into raptures.
The draw prevented Hougang from sharing the same points with Albirex Niigata (S) and Home United, while Woodlands continue to earn the tag of being ‘draw specialists’, having drawn half of the games they have played.