Singapore Premier League • April 15, 2018

Late Hougang strike denies Warriors first SPL win


The Cheetahs got their first point of the season after a 1-1 draw against the nine-time champions

Substitute Fareez Farhan kept his cool to fire home the equaliser for Hougang United FC.

SINGAPORE, 15 APRIL 2018 – Hougang United FC and Warriors FC continued their win-less start to the season after a 1-1 draw in the only Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) fixture on Sunday evening.

Warriors looked to have earned all three points through Ho Wai Loon’s goal, but Hougang struck in the dying moments via a Fareez Farhan penalty to earn a share of the spoils at Hougang Stadium.

After kick-off was delayed for more than half an hour due to inclement weather, Hougang came out all guns blazing from the get-go and almost scored after just 70 seconds.

Forward Muhaimin Suhaimi found space to fire a piledriver from 30 yards out but the effort flew just wide of the right-hand post.

Warriors also went close on four minutes, with Sahil Suhaimi just failing to apply the finishing touch on Ho’s free kick.

Hougang were largely dominant in the opening exchanges, with Iqbal Hussain firing over from eight yards after being teed up by Nazrul Nazari.

Their best chance came on 14 minutes when Illyas Lee connected well with a cross, only for goalkeeper Mukundan Maran – making his league debut for Warriors – to somehow divert it over the bar from point-blank range.

Missing their star forward Jonathan Behe, the visitors struggled to find joy in the attacking third but still managed to break the deadlock five minutes before half time.

Ho’s wicked inswinging corner was misjudged by Hougang custodian Ridhuan Barudin, who could only palm it into his own net to the horror of the home supporters.

It could have been worse for the Cheetahs two minutes into the second half when Warriors captain Kento Fukuda slammed home the rebound after Sahil Suhaimi’s free kick was parried into his path, only for offside to be called against him.

Wide man Tajeli Salamat saw his shot come off the left-hand post after being set up by Sahil on the hour mark, with Hougang struggling to break through at the other end.

But the hosts were thrown a lifeline when Poh Yi Feng halted Fareez Farhan’s surging run into the box with his hand and the substitute took it, coolly converting from 12 yards on 87 minutes to salvage a point.

The result meant Hougang came off the foot of the table while Warriors remain third-from-bottom.

Hougang will face Tampines Rovers FC away at Our Tampines Hub next Wednesday. As for the Warriors, they also face the Stags next Saturday.

What they said
Hougang Head Coach Philippe Aw: “It was a deserved point. Had we taken zero today, we would have been very disappointed. We dominated the first half but conceded from their attacking set piece – that’s all they had. In the second half, we chased for the equaliser and our hard work paid off in the end.

“We still need to work on our combination play in attack. Sometimes we rushed things and still want to force our way through instead of retaining possession. It’ll be difficult against Tampines on Wednesday as we only have two days’ rest but we have to try to get a result.”

Warriors Head Coach Mirko Grabovac: “We played good soccer and did lots of good things, but I cannot understand why we made the same mistake as the first game (1-1 vs Geylang International FC).

“We controlled the whole game and had all the set-pieces, but we could not score the second and got punished in the end. I also felt we should have two penalties – two clear penalties. But I’m happy with my young goalkeeper (Mukundan), he saved us and was confident in the game. We have two points (from three games), but I expected more.”

Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Gerald Ting (Fareez Farhan 60’), Illyas Lee, Adam Mitter, Faiz Salleh, Fabian Kwok (C), Syahiran Miswan, Nazrul Nazari, Muhaimin Suhaimi (Nurhilmi Jasni 83’), Antoine Viterale (Stanely Ng 11’), Iqbal Hussain.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Ashrul Syafeeq, Justin Hui, Amir Zalani .

Warriors: Mukundan Maran (GK), Emmeric Ong, Ismadi Mukhtar, Kento Fukuda (C), Daniel Shafiq, Tajeli Salamat, Ammirul Emmran, Poh Yi Feng (Firdaus Kasman 88’), Ho Wai Loon, Suria Prakash (Fadhil Noh 65’), Sahil Suhaimi.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Fazli Shafie, Shamil Sharif, Zuhaili Mazli, Aqil Yusof.

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