League Cup • July 13, 2014
Cheetahs Going For The Kill
StarHub League Cup Group D
Hougang United vs Brunei DPMM
(July 14, Monday, 8.00pm, Hougang Stadium)
Written by: Kenneth Ho
Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table-toppers Brunei DPMM will take on Hougang United on Monday in the last StarHub League Cup Group D match, with both sides in prime position to qualify for the next stage.
Hougang have already qualified for the quarter-finals after Balestier drew with DPMM. That draw meant that Hougang are certain of at least a second-spot finish, as they have three points after a 3-0 win over the Tigers in the group’s opener.
Balestier have only one point and need DPMM to lose by four clear goals to qualify for the quarter-finals, which is a very improbable aspect, considering that DPMM are the best defensive team in the league currently.
While he was wary of complacency since DPMM have not secured a spot in the quarter-finals, coach Steve Kean has stated that he will be making changes to his starting eleven to give his regular first-teamers a breather.
Hougang have also reaffirmed their desire to get a good result, regardless of whether they have qualified for the next round.
Hougang coach Amin Nasir said, “Football, you cannot go for draw, you need to go for a win for sure and there is no two ways about it. What happen is now we are going to go in positive and compete with them, it won’t be easy but we are prepared for it.”
Hougang will want to take a leaf out from Balestier’s book on how to hurt DPMM, as the Tigers earned a heroic 2-2 draw with them. In that match, Goran Ljuboevic was a constant thorn in Boris Raspudic’s skin as he made use of his physical height and strength to win the headers.
Diego Gama can similarly provide the same test for Raspudic, and for that to happen whoever plays on the flanks needs to provide the striker with the crosses. One taking up responsibility for that should be Fazli Jaffar, who has been a mainstay on the left wing for Hougang.
Similarly, Hougang’s two holding midfielders, Azhar Sairudin and Shunsuke Nakatake need to ensure the crosses do not come in so easily for Rodrigo Tosi to get to. The striker is fearsome with the ball at his feet or even in the air, and a tight leash needs to get kept on him at all times.
Hougang United – WWDWW
8/7/14 Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Hougang United (StarHub League Cup Group D)
23/6/14 Hougang United 2-0 Geylang International
19/6/14 Tampines Rovers 1-1 Hougang United
13/6/14 Hougang United 3-1 Home United
8/6/14 Hougang United 3-2 Warriors FC
Brunei DPMM – DWWWW
11/7/14 Brunei DPMM 2-2 Balestier Khalsa (StarHub League Cup Group D)
4/7/14 Brunei DPMM 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)
29/6/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-4 Brunei DPMM (RHB Singapore Cup QF 1st Leg)
22/6/14 Harimau Muda 1-4 Brunei DPMM
18/6/14 Courts Young Lions 2-3 Brunei DPMM