Singapore Premier League • August 22, 2014

Clutch Time For Cheetahs


Written By: Kenneth Ho

Courts Young Lions vs Hougang United

(August 23, Saturday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Title aspirants Hougang United will make the trip to Jalan Besar Stadium to take on Courts Young Lions on Saturday evening.

But before Hougang coach Amin Nasir thinks of the title, he first wants to cement the top-six finish he has been clamouring for in the last few months. In addition to it being a huge improvement from last season, it will also be the first time Hougang’s is guaranteed and can finish in the upper half of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.

With Balestier only managing a draw with Brunei DPMM in their last game, Hougang only needs a point in this game to make the sixth spot out of reach by going seven points clear of the Tigers, with only two games left in round two of the league.

Hougang will be galvanised by their form in recent months, especially in the last game as they stole a point off leaders Brunei DPMM last time out as Moura fired a last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw in Berakas.

In contrast, the Young Lions have failed to defend adequately all season and tend to concede goals which could have been prevented with a little more care taken.

The last game against Warriors proves that point. Despite taking an early lead against the Warriors, several errors by the backline saw the Young Lions conceding four goals to endure a morale-sapping 4-1 defeat.

However, just as their last game proves too, the Young Lions can spring a surprise on their day. Taking the lead against Hougang is achievable, but it remains to be seen whether it would be the Young Lions that beat Hougang 3-0 a few months or the one which just lost to Warriors that shows up.

Aide Iskandar’s team will be led by promising 22-year-old Sahil Suhaimi upfront and he will be hoping to breach the Hougang net again, having done so twice against the Cheetahs in a shock 3-0 victory in May.

Hougang on the other hand can depend on Geison Moura and Diego Gama for the goods, the Brazilian duo in blistering form and have combined for more than half of the goals they have scored this season.

Key Man To Watch

Court Young Lions: Ammirul Emmran

While Sahil has got the offensive front cover, somebody needs to watch the Young Lions’ back and that task should fall on holding midfielder Ammirul’s shoulder. While the youngster only has a 50% success rate of winning challenges, he is among the top in the league in the number of challenges made per game.

His combativeness will throw creative players off their game, as they have to deal with the lad before being able to do something with the ball. Geison and gang will have their hands full in trying to get past this one in the middle of the park.

Hougang United: Geison Moura

Without doubt, Moura will be key to Hougang hopes of getting a result here. You cannot lose if you outscore your opponents, and seeing how the Young Lions have been finding the net with regularity this season, it would take a brave man to say that Hougang will keep a clean sheet here.

With his link-up plays, Moura can play in Diego Gama and Nurhilmi Jasni to devastating effect. In addition, he is capable of finding the net himself, and will surely trouble the Young Lions to no end.

Courts Young Lions – LDWLL

20/8/14   Warriors FC 4-1 Courts Young Lions

3/8/14     Courts Young Lions 0-0 Harimau Muda

1/7/14     Woodlands Wellington 1-3 Courts Young Lions

22/6/14   Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Courts Young Lions

18/6/14   Courts Young Lions 2-3 Brunei DPMM

Hougang United – DLWLW

3/8/14     Brunei DPMM 2-2 Hougang United

21/7/14   Tanjong Pagar United (4P) 0-0 (2) Hougang United (StarHub League Cup SF)

17/7/14   Home United 1-2 Hougang United (StarHub League Cup QF)

14/7/14   Hougang United 2-3 Brunei DPMM (StarHub League Cup Group D)

8/7/14     Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Hougang United (StarHub League Cup Group D)

Head to Head (S.League)

2/5/14     Hougang United 0-3 Courts Young Lions

5/11/13   Courts Young Lions 2-0 Hougang United

7/5/13     Hougang United 1-0 Courts Young Lions

20/2/13   Hougang United 0-3 Courts Young Lions

10/5/12   Hougang United 0-2 Courts Young Lions

17/2/12   Courts Young Lions 0-3 Hougang United

19/7/11   Hougang United 1-1 Courts Young Lions

2/8/11      Courts Young Lions 2-0 Hougang United

14/3/11    Hougang United 1-0 Courts Young Lions