Singapore Premier League • April 4, 2014
Leaders Tampines Face Tricky Hougang Mission
Hougang United vs Tampines Rovers
(April 5, Saturday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Hougang United will aim to halt Tampines Rovers’ winning run when they lock horns at Hougang Stadium on Saturday evening.
Tampines have won their opening five games in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League and come into this after a morale-boosting 3-2 win over Harimau Muda in a come-from-behind victory at home.
Goals in the final ten minutes from Noh Alam Shah, Miljan Mrdakovic and Roberto Martinez overturned the deficit after Akhir Bahari and Nurshamil Abd Ghani had given the Malaysians a shock two-goal lead midway through the second-half.
Alam Shah sparked the comeback mere minutes after coming on and he could start on the bench again to provide the fresh legs Tampines need in the closing stages.
The Stags were then handed a further boost on the continental front on Tuesday when they emerged 5-2 winners over Pune FC away from home to record their second win of the AFC Cup.
Hougang meanwhile, responded to their first defeat of the season by holding Home United to a 2-2 draw in their last match slightly over a week ago.
The Cheetahs were on course to return to winning ways when Diego Gama put his side into the lead with a minute remaining, but Fazrul Nawaz scored in stoppage time to deny Hougang victory.
Hougang have put up gritty performances this season, making them a team hard to beat especially at the back with a well-drilled defensive unit.
Although they have conceded eight goals so far, the presence of Igor Cerina has steadied the ship with his brave tackling and aerial prowess which brings confidence to the team.Coming up against the defending champions, a hopeful Amin Nasir is eager to to win this in front of their home fans.
Further up the pitch, Geison Moura has been in inspirational form as well. He is joint-third in the goalscoring charts with four goals so far this season and Hougang will count on him for the goods and hope he continues to deliver.
“I am confident of my boys because we work so hard for every game,” said the Hougang coach.
“The only thing we need to iron out is our defence. We play at home against Tampines in our next game so we definitely want to do well in front of the fans. In order to do that, we have to defend as an entire team.”
Key Men To Watch
Hougang United: Geison Moura
The club’s top scorer with four goals, Moura has enjoyed a brilliant start to his S.League career.
He popped up with important goals for the Cheetahs, including the winner against Tanjong Pagar United as well as his double late in the game to seal victory over Albirex Niigata (S).
Despite his slightly scrawny frame, he has the ability to hold up the ball well and has good touches with finishing to go with it.
Tampines Rovers: Miljan Mrdakovic
With ten goals in all competitions, the Tampines marquee signing looks unstoppable at the moment.
Apart of his six league goals, Mrdakovic has also netted in the ACL playoff defeat in February as well as the ongoing AFC Cup where he has scored in all except one game in the group stages. On top of that, the Serbian has also developed a growing understanding with strike partner Aleksandar Duric and the duo have combined to destroy opponents defences with ease.
Hence, if Hougang are to stand a chance of getting something out of this game, they will have to keep Mrdakovic on a tight leash and ensure he does not get much of the ball.
Hougang United – DLWWD
27/3/14 Home United 2-2 Hougang United
20/3/14 Warriors FC 2-0 Hougang United
12/3/14 Hougang United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
27/2/14 Tanjong Pagar United 1-2 Hougang United
22/2/14 Hougang United 2-2 Woodlands Wellington
Tampines Rovers – WWWWW
1/4/14 Pune FC 2-5 Tampines Rovers (AFC Cup)
27/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-2 Harimau Muda
23/3/14 Brunei DPMM 1-2 Tampines Rovers
19/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Pune FC (AFC Cup)
16/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-0 Geylang International
Head to Head (S.League)
18/7/13 Hougang United 2-3 Tampines Rovers
12/5/13 Tampines Rovers 3-0 Hougang United
24/8/12 Hougang United 1-1 Tampines Rovers
25/3/12 Tampines Rovers 1-1 Hougang United
10/8/11 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Hougang United
19/5/11 Hougang United 2-0 Tampines Rovers
22/2/11 Tampines Rovers 5-2 Hougang United