Singapore Premier League • September 1, 2014
All Or Nothing For Hougang
Hougang United vs Harimau Muda
(September 2, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Hougang United will play their last game of Round Two at home as they welcome cellar-dwellars Harimau Muda with the hopes of finally cementing their spot within the top half.
Currently sitting at sixth place, the Cheetahs are only three points above Balestier Khalsa, and a loss here will give Balestier a chance to overtake them as the Tigers too need to face Harimau in their penultimate game of Round Two.
Until recently, Hougang seemed almost certain to be assured of a top-six finish, especially after a point was earned in a 2-2 draw with league leaders DPMM.
However, that was soon followed by 2-1 and 4-1 losses to Courts Young Lions and Balestier Khalsa respectively, to leave them needing at least a draw to shrug off Balestier’s challenge.
All Hougang’s hard work to secure their best ever finish in the league will come to nothing, if they do not achieve a result here.
If this fixture between Hougang and Harimau was played earlier in the season, the latter attaining victory would have been a foregone conclusion.
However, since Harimau came back from a three-week break in the local scene, they have performed admirably and held Woodlands Wellington to a 1-1 draw last Saturday.
During this break, Harimau might have figured out some kinks and knots. The 0-0 draw achieved against Courts Young Lions when the league resumed showed that scoring against them is not as easy as it was earlier in the season.
While Hougang coach Amin Nasir has repeatedly played down his title hopes, it would be foolish to suggest he doesn’t want to win it. As such, Amin will definitely play his best eleven even if the opponents were Harimau.
Hougang too need to be wary though, as Ramzi Sufian is capable of causing damage at the opponents’ end and complacency might do them in.
Suspension: Murshamil Ghani (Harimau Muda)
Key Men To Watch
Hougang United: Shunsuke Nakatake
The Japanese is no stranger to the first eleven at Hougang and has been pulling the strings in midfield in the most effective of ways for the whole of the season.
A player with a broad view of vision on the pitch, Nakatake is an expert at sweeping balls from left to right, and even fancies a go at goal from a distance.
Harimau Muda: Syafwan Syahlan
He was at the right place at the right time to salvage a draw for his side against Woodlands Wellington in the 88th minute.
Having all a striker needs, Syafwan would be hoping to get to the better of Igor Cerina and Igor Ferreira in the final third to give his side some chance to climb the table in Round Three of the league.
Hougang United – LLDLWL
27/8/14 Balestier Khalsa 4-1 Hougang United
23/8/14 Courts Young Lions 2-1 Hougang United
3/8/14 Brunei DPMM 2-2 Hougang United
21/7/14 Tanjong Pagar United (4P) 0-0 (2) Hougang United (StarHub League Cup SF)
17/7/14 Home United 1-2 Hougang United (StarHub League Cup QF)
Harimau Muda – DDLWL
30/8/14 Woodlands Wellington 1-1 Harimau Muda
03/8/14 Courts Young Lions 0-0 Harimau Muda
22/6/14 Harimau Muda 1-4 Brunei DPMM
19/6/14 Geylang International 2-3 Harimau Muda
13/6/14 Harimau Muda 0-1 Tampines Rovers
Head to Head (S.League)
24/4/14 Harimau Muda 3-4 Hougang United
24/10/13 Hougang United 4-1 Harimau Muda
30/8/13 Harimau Muda 1-2 Hougang United
26/4/13 Hougang United 3-1 Harimau Muda
29/10/12 Hougang United 0-0 Harimau Muda
27/4/12 Harimau Muda 3-1 Hougang United