Singapore Premier League • March 13, 2014

Cheetahs Stun White Swans With Late Goals


Written By: Kenneth Ho

Hougang United struck twice at the death against Albirex Niigata to earn a 3-1 win at Hougang Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Albirex had taken the lead through Kazuki Sakamoto’s calm finish in the first half, but Hougang managed to stage a comeback by scoring three second-half goals despite losing their goalkeeper Fadhil Salim before the break.

Diego Gama struck right after half-time to draw the hosts level, before Geison Moura grabbed a brace in the dying minutes of the game.

It was a deserved win for Hougang in the end, after they came out battling in the second half to batter Albirex after struggling to contain them in the first.

Albirex started the game well and first forced Fadhil to save from Kento Nagasaki in the third minute.

The Japanese side did get their goal ten minutes later when Keisuke Ota slipped in Sakamoto and the latter calmly rolled the ball past Fadhil, but they would go on to miss several good opportunities.

Sakamoto was involved again when he next missed a chance to extend his side’s lead. He dallied on the ball for too long in a one-on-one with Fadhil, allowing the custodian to gather the ball.

The forward endured another miss when he crashed a header against the crossbar in the 33rd minute, injuring Fadhil in the process.

The match was then stopped for a while as Fadhil had to be tended to, before being replaced by Nazri Sabri for a dislocated finger in the 40th minute.

The loss of Fadhil seemed to inspire the Cheetahs, as their performance improved immensely after that.

As soon as play resumed, Gama’s powerful free-kick had to be pushed behind by Albirex goalkeeper Kazuki Kishigami for a corner.

Minutes later, Gama turned his marker and unleashed a shot from distance but Kishigami did well to parry his shot, before Shunsuke Nakatake had a goal disallowed for an infringement in the box.

However, the Cheetahs got their equaliser right after the break through Gama as he glanced Azhar Sairudin’s delivery from the left past Kishigami.

The goal seemed to further galvanise Hougang, as Gama and Moura came close with several chances of their own.

Azhar had a go from 25 yards out but his dipping shot struck the cross bar in the 74th minute.

Just as the game seemed to be heading towards a stalemate, Moura soon made Hougang’s dominance

in the second half count with a late goal in the 89th minute.

From the edge of the box, Moura punted a tame shot and Kishigami allowed it to squirm past him.

Moura then added the icing on the cake when Kishigami contrived to fumble a cross in front of the forward, who stabbed the ball home to seal victory.