News • October 23, 2017

Aw Optimistic Of Top-Four Chances


Garena Young Lions vs Hougang United

(24 October, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Hougang United head coach Philippe Aw believes a top-four finish in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League is still within reach as they take on Garena Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night.

Following their 1-0 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) in their last game, the Cheetahs are on 26 points after 21 matches as they trail fourth-placed Geylang International by seven points.

“It’s not going to be easy, but it is still possible with three games remaining,” said Aw.

“We play Young Lions next, before Balestier (Khalsa) and then Warriors FC in our final game of the season. We are fighting with Warriors outright; we don’t play Geylang anymore but they have tough games as well and Warriors still have Home (United) and Albirex.”

In their loss to the White Swans, Hougang did come out to play football but eventually succumbed to Ryota Nakai’s strike ten minutes from time.

Admitting that they were punished for a defensive lapse, Aw is hoping that his attackers would step up to the plate and fire the team back to winning ways.

“We had our chances to score, but Albirex had theirs as well. Had we taken the lead, things could have been different as they would have to chase the game,” he lamented.

“There has been so many times this year I get people coming up to me to say that we play good football but don’t score. It was the same story against Albirex, we created the chances but failed to finish.”

Even as they target a win to keep their top-four chances alive, Aw is already looking forward to building his team for the 2018 campaign.

“As much we want to get the three points and chase for that fourth place, we are also looking at giving opportunities to our younger players to expose them and prepare for next season,” the 40-year-old added.

“We must also look at the bigger picture. If you have a long-term plan, then you must persist with it and hope the boys get better.”

Japanese playmaker Fumiya Kogure limped off midway through the first half against Albirex and is a doubt for this one while forward Pablo Rodriguez will miss the rest of the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Young Lions on the other hand, were brought crashing back down to the earth as they fell 4-0 to Geylang, a week after they had claimed their first victory of the season with a 1-0 win over nine-time league champions Warriors.

With four games left for them, the developmental side remain in ninth with six points to their name.

Despite the result against the Eagles, Vincent Subramaniam was still able to draw some positives from that game and is hopeful of a strong finish to the season.

“We made some elementary errors for the goals conceded, but the passing from us was good and we had a fair share of possession,” noted the Young Lions head coach.

“Now we just have to keep working hard and try to get points on board. The boys have to put up performances for them to be scouted by other clubs.”

In their two meetings this season, Hougang have come out on top on both occasions as they won 2-0 and 2-1 in March and September respectively.

Garena Young Lions – LLLWL

21/10/17 Garena Young Lions 0-4 Geylang International

14/10/17 Warriors FC 0-1 Garena Young Lions

07/10/17 Brunei DPMM 7-1 Garena Young Lions

20/09/17 Garena Young Lions 0-1 Balestier Khalsa

15/09/17 Hougang United 2-1 Garena Young Lions

Hougang United – LDLLL

19/10/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Hougang United

15/10/17 Hougang United 0-2 Home United

30/09/17 Hougang United 1-2 Global Cebu FC (RHB Singapore Cup)

27/09/17 Global Cebu FC 2-2 Hougang United (RHB Singapore Cup)

23/09/17 Hougang United 1-2 Brunei DPMM

Head to Head (S.League)

15/09/17 Hougang United 2-1 Garena Young Lions

11/03/17 Hougang United 2-0 Garena Young Lions

23/09/16 Garena Young Lions 0-2 Hougang United

19/05/16 Hougang United 1-1 Garena Young Lions

10/03/16 Garena Young Lions 1-3 Hougang United