Singapore Cup • May 27, 2014
Jaguars Earn Ticket To Quarter-Finals After Tough Win
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Tanjong Pagar United narrowly defeated Hougang United 1-0 to march into the quarter-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup.
Monsef Zerka broke his barren spell in front of goal as he scored his fourth goal of the season to break the hearts of the Cheetahs’s faithful.
It was a very evenly-matched encounter as both teams took turns to dominate parts of the game, although Tanjong Pagar goalkeeper Aurelien Herisson proved to be the busier of the two goalkeepers.
With skipper Ahmad Latiff leading the backline for the Jaguars, the Cheetahs found it very hard to get into the danger areas, and it was the same story at the other end with Igor Cerina being a dominant figure.
Tanjong Pagar were awarded with the first few chances of the game as Sebastien Etiemble’s effort off Firdaus Idros’ cross went way over the bar in the fourth minute before Latiff’s deflected 40-yard free-kick was palmed away by Fadhil Salim.
The Cheetahs then started to settle down in the game as they went about the usual passing game with a packed and composed midfield.
Fairoz Hasan’s header flew inches wide off Azhar Sairudin’s cross in the 20th minute and that was the only real opportunity Hougang had in the first-half.
Minutes before the interval, Kamel Ramdani was presented with the best chance of the half, but he saw his one-on-one with the goalkeeper fail to pay off as the forward’s attempt rolled just wide off the post.
After the restart, the visitors came out looking the more determined of the two as they created a total of six back-to-back chances, but none of them found the net.
Diego Gama’s half-volley and header sailed to the wrong side of the post before Cerina saw his header fly away from goal.
In the 59th minute, Gama managed to squeeze in a low shot amid the scrambled clearance by Tanjong Pagar, but the striker saw his effort saved by the legs of Herisson.
Four minutes later, Fairoz found himself with only Herisson to beat but the custodian brilliantly denied the midfielder a goal.
The men in blue started to show urgency and pressed for a goal and it nearly bore fruit with 20 minutes to go but Gama’s finish was cleared off the line by Latiff following Azhar’s corner.
Just as everyone was expecting Hougang to score, Tanjong Pagar went ahead against the run of play as Zerka scored the vital winner in the 76th minute.
From infield, Kamel Ramdani floated in a deep cross into the right side for Firdaus to take down. The latter promptly swung in a cross for an unmarked Zerka to dive onto and send the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
That concluded the action as Hougang tried to grab an equaliser but failed to do so and allowed the Jaguars to be the first team to qualify for the Singapore Cup quarter-final.