Singapore Premier League • May 10, 2014

Cheetahs Bounce Back With Win Over Balestier 


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Hougang United returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening as they bounced back from their defeat to the Courts Young Lions in their last match.

Diego Gama gave Hougang the lead in the 28th minute, but Goran Ljubojevic equalised from the penalty spot before Geison Moura wrapped up the win for the Cheetahs on the hour mark with a well-taken strike.

Balestier welcomed playmaker Park Kang Jin back into the side and he nearly produced a goalscoring return after coming on as a 54th-minute substitute, only to see his toe-poke trickle agonisingly wide.

The Tigers could have got off to a flyer after just 40 seconds when Zulkiffli Hassim rounded Hougang goalkeeper Fadhil Salim but from a seemingly impossible angle the former screwed his shot wide.

Hougang then fashioned a chance of their own in the 11th minute through Erwan Gunawan whose low shot was easily dealt with by Zaiful Nizam before Fairoz Hasan tested the goalkeeper with a stinging effort from outside the penalty box.

The  woodwork came to the Cheetahs’ rescue in the 22nd minute when Kim Minho’s thunderous shot came off the bar before they soon found themselves in the lead through a delightful effort from Gama.

From a seemingly innocuous corner, the forward swung in a curling corner kick from the right which went over the flailing arms of Zaiful and into goal.

That lead was short-lived though as the Tigers pulled level in the 37th minute. After Paul Cunningham was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area, Ljubojevic smashed home the resulting penalty to make it 1-1.

Shortly after the restart, Ljubojevic nearly added to his tally after racing through on goal but was denied by the onrushing Fadhil and that miss proved costly as Hougang gained a lead they never relinquished.

Playing the ball wide to Fairoz Hasan, Moura continued his run into the box and met the former’s low cross to coolly finish past Zaiful from close range to take his tally to eight for the season.

Substitute Ruhaizad Ismail could have snatched an equaliser right at the death but it was not to be as his dipping volley beat Fadhil but not the bar with Hougang hanging on for the precious three points.