Singapore Premier League • November 27, 2015

Cheetahs Determined To Go Out With A Bang


Written by: Shawn Lim

Albirex Niigata (S) vs Hougang United
(20 November, Friday, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)

Hougang United will pay a visit to Albirex Niigata (S) at Jurong East Stadium eager to get their dismal season over and done with as they will remain at the foot of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table regardless of the result on Friday night.

Despite putting up strong performances in their matches, the Cheetahs’ inability to turn the performances seen them dropping crucial points and seen them part ways with coach Salim Moin.

New coach K.Balagumaran is still looking for his first win as the Cheetahs’ head coach and he will be looking to mastermind a positive ending to the 2015 season.

“We got one more game and I still need to work hard,” said the 51-year-old after his side’s 2-2 draw with Geylang International.

“The players got to play for their pride..for their future, for their career because everybody, even the fringe players can play football,

“We lost the previous game..that was my first game..second game, whatever the game plan, they carried out.

“So I think I can see that they believe in themselves that they can perform much much better.”

However, the White Swans will not be looking to do them any favours though, after they missed out on the league title yet again this season due to a loss of form during mid-season.

In spite of failing to achieve their main target, coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama has urged his charges to end their season on a positive note.

“We wanted to win the game so that we could finish in second place because we have no chance of winning the title anymore,” said the Japanese after his side’s 1-0 loss to Tampines Rovers.

“We had a very long season and we faced many difficult situations like fixture changes and injuries, but we will do our best to win the last game of the season and finish the season on a good note.”

Suspension: Nurhilmi Jasni (Hougang United)

Key Men to Watch

Albirex Niigata (S): Shun Inaba

The combative midfielder put up a less than ideal performance against the Stags, constantly giving the ball away cheaply.

If Inaba wants to help his club achieve maximum points against the Cheetahs, he will have to put in a good shift in midfield on Friday night.

Hougang United: Vuk Sotirovic

The Serbian played the part of an impact substitution in the Cheetahs’ 2-2 draw with the Eagles, coming on to win a penalty and converting his spot-kick to launch their comeback.

With influential playmaker and captain Nurhilmi suspended for this tie, Sotirovic is set to start and will be looking to add on to his tally of seven goals.

Albirex Niigata (S) – WWLWL

13/11/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 0-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
05/11/15  Home United 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
02/11/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 0-1 Courts Young Lions (S.League)
30/10/15  Warriors FC 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
26/10/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International (S.League)

Hougang United – LLDLD

09/11/15  Geylang International 2-2 Hougang United (S.League)
06/11/15  Hougang United 1-2 Harimau Muda (S.League)
01/11/15  Hougang United 1-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
26/10/15  Warriors FC 2-0 Hougang United (S.League)
20/10/15  Hougang United 1-2 Brunei DPMM (S.League)

Head To Head (S.League)

28/08/15  Hougang United 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
01/05/15  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Hougang United
05/06/14  Albirex Niigata (S) 0-1 Hougang United
12/03/14  Hougang United 3 – 1 Albirex Niigata (S)
24/05/13  Albirex Niigata (S) 2 – 1 Hougang United