Singapore Premier League • October 27, 2015
Cheetahs Fall To Fazrul’s Brace
Written by: Nigel Chin
Fazrul Nawaz netted a brace as Warriors FC defeated Hougang United 2-0 at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium to earn their first win in four games on Monday evening.
The striker struck once in each half to bring his league tally up to 17, which left him just one behind Brunei DPMM’s Rafael Ramazotti in the chase for the top scorer award.
Warriors came into the game unsettled by recent departures, after title-winning coach Alex Weaver left on mutual consent along with assistant Kevin Wee.
Hired in his place was Karim Bencherifa, but with his paperworks still pending, long-serving youth coach Razif Onn was asked to stand in.
Despite that, the defending S.League champions managed to put in a great team effort to secure a crucial win that kept them in the top half of the standings.
Karlo Ivancic could have opened the scoring in the ninth minute for the hosts, but squandered a good chance by firing wide, while Thomas Beattie scuffed a volley to allow Hougang custodian Ridhuan Barudin an easy save.
But 15 minutes into the game, Warriors goalkeeper Shahul Rayyan was forced off following a clash of heads with Hougang’s Yuki Uchiyama, which left the 20-year-old dazed.
Prime League goalkeeper Nur Amin Malik, who conceded five times on his debut against Albirex Niigata (S) in March, came on to make his second appearance.
However, it was the Warriors who continued to toil away, with Miroslav Pejic just inches away from breaking the deadlock with a free-kick.
Minutes before half-time, the hosts were given a penalty after Uchiyama bundled over Fazrul inside the box.
The striker picked himself up to convert the spot-kick, which went in despite Ridhuan getting a touch to it.
Fazrul almost doubled the lead six minutes after the restart after Pejic found him with a square, only for the Singapore striker to uncharacteristically fire over.
Sotirovic sent a free-kick way over down the other end in the 58th minute, before Fazrul scored his second three minutes later.
After a neat one-two with Pejic down the right side, Fazrul was sent galloping through on goal, and he made no mistake with a fine finish past the hapless Ridhuan.
Ivancic then saw an effort from close range deflected out by Delwinder Singh, before Marin Vidosevic did the same at the other end to deny Sotirovic’s volley.
Warriors could have scored a third towards the end of the game, but Pejic took his time and lost the ball in a three-on-one break.
However, they were still able to repel Hougang in the defending third, and walked away with three points in the bag.
Warriors FC: Shahul Rayyan (GK) (Nur Amin Malik 21’) , Syaqir Sulaiman, Daniel Bennett (C), Marin Vidosevic, Irwan Shah, Thomas Beattie, Shi Jiayi, Miroslav Pejic, Hafiz Rahim (Hamqaamal Shah 90’), Karlo Ivancic (Emmeric Ong 90’), Fazrul Nawaz
Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Ruzaini Zainal (Faizal Amir 78’), Delwinder Singh, Yuki Uchiyama, Faiz Salleh, Atsushi Shimono, Taufiq Ghani (Fareez Farhan 72’), Carlos Delgado (Muhaymin Salim 72’), Diego Gama, Nurhimi Jasni (C), Vuk Sotirovic