Singapore Premier League • October 5, 2014

Deja Vu For Cheetahs Against Harimau Muda


Written By: Kenneth Ho

It was déjà vu for ten-man Hougang United, as they capitulated to a 1-0 loss to Harimau Muda on Saturday evening in a similar fashion to when the two sides met last time round.

Despite dominating possession, the Cheetahs faced a resolute defence by Harimau and failed to score the goals required of them, similar to the game in September when Harimau walked away with a 2-1 win over Hougang. Hougang then too had played with a man less.

Nor Azam Azih scored the winner for the Young Tigers after Wahyudi Wahid was dismissed for receiving his second yellow card of the game in the 71st minute.

The win sent the Harimau above Court Young Lions, after the latter lost to Tanjong Pagar United on the same night.

The game started at a fairly tepid pace, with both sides displaying tactical discipline to keep things tight at the back.

However both goalkeepers were not idle too, with Harimau goalkeeper Ilham Aimrullah arguably the busier of the two as Hougang had him rushing out many times to claim the through passes.

The game witnessed its first attempt at goal only in the 22nd minute, when Hougang midfielder Shunsuke Nakatake’s shot flew over the bar.

From the restart, a long ball found Afiq Fazali at the half-way mark and he had Hougang goalkeeper Fadhil Salim scrambling back to his line to make a save after the former attempted an ambitious 40-yard shot.

In the 33rd minute, Hougang managed to fashion out a decent chance. Fairoz Hassan’s cross was cleared by Syawal Nordin but only as far as to Nakatake, however his first-time shot was comfortably gathered by Harimau goalkeeper Ilham Amirullah.

The custodian was then called upon to make a spate of saves just before the break as Erwan Gunawan tested him with a spectacular overhead kick before Faizal’s attempt was smothered succesively.

The Cheetahs continued to bang on the doors of Harimau’s but to no avail, prompting Hougang to send on Diego Gama for Lau Meng Meng in the 65th minute.

However, it was the visitors who nearly opened the scoring in the 67th minute, when Fadhil Salim had to get low quickly to keep out Akir Bahari’s header from a Shahrul Igwan cross. From the resulting corner, Bahari blasted over from close range.

While Harimau missed those opportunities, they managed to make it count in the 71st minute after Hougang saw Wahyudi receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

From the resulting free kick, Nor stabbed home the rebound from Fadhil after the custodian had made a save from Asri Mardzuki’s free kick.

Despite going behind, Hougang still failed to test Ilham properly, with Geison Moura coming the closest with his low shot in the 74th minute.

The loss for Hougang means that they are still yet to secure seventh spot with three games left. Geylang International mathematically can still catch up to the Cheetahs, as they are nine points behind.