Singapore Premier League • June 9, 2014

Title-Chasing Warriors Stumble at Cheetahs’ Den

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Written By: Kenneth Ho

Hougang United continue to spring surprises in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League as they put the sword to title-chasers Warriors FC 3-2 at Hougang Stadium on Sunday evening.

The latest victory came on the heels of their hard fought victory over Albirex Niigata (S) a week ago and puts the Cheetahs in fifth position, six points behind league leader Brunei DPMM who leads the pack on 31 points with a game in hand.

The fearsome duo of Miroslav Pejic and Nicholas Velez were at it again as they both grabbed a goal apiece while Hougang saw Igor Cerina and Fazli Jaffar etching their name onto the scoresheet, with the former scoring a brace.

Despite scoring a goal, Pejic also saw red as he was sent off for an unprofessional act five minutes from time.

It was a game which saw caution being thrown to the wind by both teams and the tone of the game was set within the first five minutes.

Barely two minutes had passed when Warriors goalkeeper Hassan Sunny was forced into action several times as he pulled off a double-save from Diego Gama at close range before denying Faizal Amir minutes later.

The Warriors then took the lead through Pejic as he capitalised on a poor clearance by Fadhil Salim to slam home the opener in the seventh minute.

Despite going down first, Hougang continued to conjure up chances and it soon paid off in the 17th minute with the hosts finding the equaliser through Cerina.

The centre-back pushed up into the box to brilliantly take a high ball on the chest before bringing it down and driving it past Hassan to level the game.

The Cheetahs could have found themselves a goal down again just before the break when Daniel Bennett saw his cross-shot bounced just wide of the far post.

The game continued in the same manner as the first, with both sides maintaining their offensive strategy.

Two minutes had just passed since the restart, but Fadhil had to be called upon to parry Shi Jiayi’s volley.

Fazli Jaffar then gave Hougang the lead in the 53rd minute when he ran onto Diego Gama’s flick on before calmly placing the ball past Hassan.

Hougang could have extended their lead five minutes later but Hassan again made another great save as he pushed away a low shot from Shunsuke Nakatake.

On the hour mark, the Warriors levelled matters as Pejic’s free kick from infield found Velez and the striker drove home the equaliser.

However, Hougang would regain the lead again in the 70th minute as Cerina grabbed his second goal of the night when he met a corner by Azar Sairudin to plant a header beyond the Warriors custodian.

There was to be more drama in store as Pejic saw red five minutes from time for an off-the-ball incident.

The loss meant that Warriors missed the opportunity to go top as they remain a point behind DPMM in the table.