Singapore Premier League • May 9, 2014
Hougang Faces Balestier At Jalan Besar
Hougang United vs Balestier Khalsa
(May 9, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
The Cheetahs will be playing hosts to Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium instead of Hougang Stadium due to this being the televised match of the week and the two teams come into this one after mixed results in their last fixture.
Balestier Khalsa snapped their six-match winless streak in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League with a 2-0 win over beleaguered Harimau Muda while Hougang found themselves on the end of a shock 3-0 defeat to the Courts Young Lions.
The Tigers will also be delighted to welcome their talismanic midfielder Park Kang Jin back from injury, as Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic revealed that the South Korea is slated to be on the bench.
His absence has been sorely felt in the past few matches and the return of Park changes Balestier into a different side. The passes start flowing with more precision and there becomes one man who has the flair to create something out of nothing in an instant.
At the other end, Hougang should see their first-choice goalkeeper and captain Fadhil Salim continue to make his comeback from injury as he plays in his second consecutive game.
The custodian has been missing a big chunk of the season so far due to a hand injury and the Cheetahs will be glad to have him back to keep Balestier at bay.
However, there was nothing he could to prevent his side from falling to the Young Lions as he was left exposed for all three goals that flew past him.
Hence, Fadhil will be looking to redeem himself in this game but at the same time he will be hoping for his backline to do a better job in protecting him.
While Balestier have openly declared their aim to challenge for the title, their results have suggested otherwise. In order to make good on their claims, a result against a tenacious Hougang would be required here.
Expect the Tigers to be troubled by Hougang United’s offense, with Geison Moura and Diego Gama adequately supplied with the services of midfielders Shunsuke Nakatake and Azhar Sairudin.
Suspensions: Firman Hanif and Fazli Jaffar (Hougang United)
Key Player To Watch
Hougang United: Erwan Gunawan
With his vast experience playing for former team Warriors FC, the right winger was regarded as one of the transfer coups for Hougang and he has certainly not disappointed.
While he has yet to score so far, he has contributed to the team with assists, with two coming in their thrilling 4-3 win over Harimau Muda two matches ago.
Raking up an InStat score of 109, Erwan was pretty decent in his passing with a 73% accuracy. He was also successful in all three dribbles he attempted and this could come in handy in unlocking the Balestier’s defence.
Balestier Khalsa: Goran Ljubojevic
Despite being starved of service, especially after injury sidelined playmaker Park Kang Jin, Balestier’s marquee signing Goran Ljubojevic has still been able to find the net and deliver the goods.
He has contributed to half of Balestier’s 14 goals scored so far and he will be depended on for goals again as he continues to keep pace with the Brunei DPMM duo Rodrigo Tosi and Roy O’Donovan at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Hougang United – LWLLW
2/5/14 Hougang United 0-3 Courts Young Lions
24/4/14 Harimau Muda 3-4 Hougang United
16/4/14 Hougang United 0-1 Brunei DPMM
11/4/14 Geylang International 3-2 Hougang United
5/4/14 Hougang United 4-2 Tampines Rovers
Balestier Khalsa – WLDLL
30/4/14 Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Harimau Muda
25/4/14 Brunei DPMM 4-1 Balestier Khalsa
17/4/14 Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Geylang International
13/4/14 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa
5/4/14 Home United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa
Head to Head (S.League)
5/8/13 Balestier Khalsa 3-1 Hougang United
9/4/13 Hougang United 1-3 Balestier Khalsa
17/7/12 Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Hougang United
8/3/12 Hougang United 0-1 Balestier Khalsa
3/10/11 Hougang United 2-0 Balestier Khalsa
23/6/11 Balestier Khalsa 2-4 Hougang United
29/3/11 Hougang United 2-2 Balestier Khalsa