Singapore Premier League • February 23, 2014

Resilient Rams Hold Cheetahs to Four Goal Thriller

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Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Hougang United and Woodlands Wellington contested in a tight affair which ended 2-2.to open their Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2014 campaign at the Hougang Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Cheetahs took the lead twice but a stubborn Woodlands side were never easy opponents as they responded with well-deserved equalisers.

Hougang drew first blood in the 17th minutes when a deep Fazli Jaffar cross from the left was headed in by defender Igor Cerina.

However, the Rams were not fazed by the goal and got the equaliser seven minutes later through debutant Taufiq Ghani.

Chang Jo Yoon’s free-kick was deflected off the wall and the ball fell nicely for Taufiq to powerfully slam onto the crossbar before rebounding into goal.

The home side assumed the lead once again in the 32nd minute when Shunsuke Nakate whipped in a deep cross to the far post in search of Fazli who tapped in beyond Woodlands goalkeeper Yazid Yasin.

With Woodlands looking devoid of inspiration, coach Darren Stewart sent on Stefan Milojevic and the midfielder was a key factor in Woodland’s comeback.

After Hougang’s defence failed to clear the ball to safety in the 69th minute, last season’s joint S.League top scorer Moon Soon Ho pounced onto the loose ball and converted the ball into the bottom corner from eight yards out to give both teams a point in their season opener.

Though the game ended in a stalemate, Hougang could have walked away with the three points had they been more clinical with their chances.

New signing Geison Moura could have given his team the lead and cap his S.League debut with a goal ten minutes into the game but his snapshot was just above the crossbar, while custodian Yazid had to palm away Fazli’s free-kick next.

Even after scoring their second goal, Amin Nasir’s side could have made it it three just before the interval, only for Yazid to deny Moura’s one-on-one attempt.

Yazid was also called into action in the second half, when he had to deny former Warriors striker Erwan Gunawan speculative volley from outside the penalty box.

With Yazid in imperious form, Hougang were left to rue their misses as the full time whistle went.