News • June 20, 2016
Zharfan’s Heroics Help Young Lions Hold Frustrated Cheetahs
Written by: Shawn Lim
Zharfan Rohaizad produced a man-of-the-match performance to help Garena Young Lions hold Hougang United to a 1-1 draw at Hougang Stadium on Thursday night.
The goalkeeper was named in the starting lineup for the first time since February, but showed no sign of rustiness as he made saves after saves to keep the Cheetahs at bay.
Zharfan’s heroics ensured that the Young Lions maintain their unbeaten record after beating Warriors FC last week, as well as climb off the foot of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table.
The visitors got off to a dream start when they were awarded a penalty in the 14th minute after Afiq Noor handled the ball in the box and Fareez Farhan stepped up to dispatch his spot-kick past Cheetahs custodian Khairulhin Khalid.
The Young Lions’ joy were short-lived though, as the Cheetahs pulled level four minutes later when a loose ball fell to an unmarked Nurhilmi Jasni and the former Cheetahs’ captain fired home with the outside of his boot.
Zharfan then made the first of his many brilliant saves in the 27th minute when he stopped Stipe Plazibat’s shot with his legs after the Croatian was played through on goal, before denying Jozef Kaplan at point-blank in the 18-yard box right before the interval.
The former LionsXII custodian showed that his positioning was top class as well in the second period, when he covered all his angles well to force Kaplan to shoot at the crossbar a minute after the hour mark.
Shannon Stephen could have helped the Young Lions reclaim the lead in the 70th minute when he rose the highest to meet Fareez’s free-kick, but Khairulhin got a hand to the defender’s glancing header to keep the ball out.
It was all Zharfan after that when he denied Iqbal Hussain’s fierce drive at goal at point-blank, before getting down quickly to prevent Kaplan from getting a shot off at close range after Plazibat had sent a low cross into the box.
The Cheetahs were left frustrated again four minutes from time when Zharfan again denied Kaplan, this time tipping the Slovakian’s header from Fumiya Kogure’s cross over the bar at close range.
Hougang United coach K.Balagumaran: “We created chances and we could have scored. I just can’t find fault with my team.
“We need to work on the mental part and they need to stay strong. They are under pressure now, so we have got to work on the mental aspect of their game.”
Garena Young Lions coach V.Selvaraj: “Overall we did what we were supposed to do, we created chances. The whole team had an excellent game.
“You are only as good as your last game or training. Even if we won the last game it doesn’t mean you can win the next game, the work rate must still be there.”
Hougang United: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Yusiskandar Yusop, Delwinder Singh, Fairoz Hassan, Nur Na’iim Ishak (Iqbal Hussain 54′), Nazrul Nazari, Raihan Rahman, Nurhilmi Jasni (Fumiya Kogure 65′), Afiq Noor (Samuel Benjamin 85′), Jozef Kaplan (C), Stipe Plazibat
Garena Young Lions:
Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Amirul Adli, Shannon Stephen, Zakir Samsudin, Rusyaidi Salime, Firdaus Kasman (C), Joshua Bernard Pereira, Muhaimin Suhaimi (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 79′), Muhelmy Suhaimi (Ryan Syafiqq 34′), Hami Syahin (Shafeeq Faruk 85′) , Fareez Farhan