Singapore Premier League • April 15, 2014
Cheetahs Face Toughest Task Yet
Hougang United vs Brunei DPMM
(April 16, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)
Written by: Kenneth Ho
Hougang United are set to face Brunei DPMM on Wednesday evening at their home ground, and they will be hoping that their much-vaunted home advantage will be on display come matchday.
Having suffered a morale-crushing defeat against the Eagles last week when they contrived to throw away a two-goal lead and allow Geylang to put three against them in the last ten minutes, Hougang will need to pick themselves up to put up a good fight against an in-form DPMM.
DPMM come into this game on the back of two huge victories, with a 6-1 and 5-0 win over Courts Young Lions and Harimau Muda respectively. Granted that those two wins may be over the bottom-two teams in the league, but the margin of victory should have boosted the confidence level of DPMM immensely.
While both sides sit in the upper half of the table, the Cheetahs must not be under any illusions that they have a squad that rival that of the star-studded DPMM.
Possessing the most menacing midfielder in Rodrigo Tosi who scores goals for fun, DPMM also have Roy O‘Donovan up front, while at the back Boric Raspudic is there to protect the dominant goalkeeper Wardun Yussof.
On the other hand, while Hougang possess a lethal strike-force in Diego Gama and Geison Moura, they will be suffering from an absence of two key players.
First-choice goalkeeper Fadhil Salim is still fighting to be match-fit, and his deputy Nazri Sabri has looked shaky ever since stepping in for his captain, with his various mistakes costing his team points over the past few games.
The cog in the engine room Azhar Sairudin is also out following his dismissal in the last game against Geylang International, and the Cheetahs will be sorely missing his penetrative passes and the danger he poses from dead-ball situations.
However, while Hougang lack an illustrious squad, they have a character which makes them very dangerous. When the going gets tough, Hougang seem to toughen up even more, as exemplified by their good performances over last season‘s top-six teams so far.
It will be interesting to see if Hougang can put up another show of giant-killing at home once again, as they did against Tampines Rovers weeks ago when they won 4-2 at home.
With that in mind, DPMM would do well not to be complacent going into this match if they want to bring home maximum points.
Suspension: Azhar Sairudin (Hougang United)
Key Man To Watch
Hougang United: Igor Cerina
DPMM are capable of playing on the break as well as using physical strength to barge through the center, and the Croatian will need to be on his toes to prevent the trigger-happy goal-scorers of DPMM from running riot.
Cerina also needs to ensure his teammates are compact at the back, and aid in the flow of communication with his goalkeeper Nazri Sabri.
The reserve goalkeeper is good at making smart saves, but his lack of communication often sees him getting into his defenders‘ way, which results in Hougang conceding from there.
DPMM: Rodrigo Tosi
It should not a case of whether Hougang are able to beat DPMM or not, but whether they can reduce Tosi to a peripheral role in the match.
The key man for DPMM has been on a goal-scoring spree since the season started, and when he starts for his team they look an altogether different side.
This is due to his ability to be the link between midfield and attack, where he can switch from defence to attack effortlessly.
If the Cheetahs can ensure the forward is kept on a tight leash, a result will surely be achievable.
Hougang United – LWDLW
11/4/14 Geylang International 3-2 Hougang United
5/4/14 Hougang United 4-2 Tampines Rovers
27/3/14 Home United 2-2 Hougang United
20/3/14 Warriors FC 2-0 Hougang United
12/3/14 Hougang United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
Brunei DPMM – WWDLW
11/4/14 Brunei DPMM 5-0 Harimau Muda
6/4/14 Brunei DPMM 6-1 Courts Young Lions
28/3/14 Geylang International 1-1 Brunei DPMM
23/3/14 Brunei DPMM 1-2 Tampines Rovers
14/3/14 Home United 0-3 Brunei DPMM
Head to Head (S.League)
19/10/13 Brunei DPMM 1-0 Hougang United
15/5/13 Hougang United 2-1 Brunei DPMM
1/3/13 Brunei DPMM 3-3 Hougang United
24/10/12 Hougang United 1-3 Brunei DPMM
5/5/12 Brunei DPMM 5-1 Hougang United