Singapore Premier League • June 14, 2014
Protectors Slayed By Giant Killers Hougang
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Hougang continued their giant-slaying act as they claimed the scalp of yet another big team in the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League following a 3-1 win over Home United on Friday evening.
Home had taken the lead through Fazrul Nawaz, but it got cancelled out by an own goal by Kwon Dakyung, before the Cheetahs went on to grab two goals in the second half through Geison Moura and Diego Gama to seal the victory.
With this result, the Protectors dropped to fourth place as Tampines Rovers overtook them after beating Harimau Muda on the same day, while Hougang leapfrogged Albirex Niigata(S) to fifth place.
Hougang started the game shakily as they had troubles connecting their passes, while Igor Cerina’s absence in the heart of defence caused a major problem which resulted them in conceding a goal as early as the fifth minute.
Wahyudi Wahid made a weak back-header towards Fadhil Salim, not knowing that the custodian was off his line, and the ball perfectly fell for Fazrul to score a easy opener by tapping into an open net.
However, the Cheetahs responded with an equaliser four minutes later when Fairoz Hassan crossed for Gama, and the latter saw his header deflected in by Kwon as it found its way into the bottom corner of the net.
Home could have regained their lead soon after, but Bruno Castanheira’s one-on-one attempt was tipped away by Fadhil.
Approaching the half-hour mark, Fadhil produced another spectacular save as he parried away Fazrul’s header off Sirina Camara’s cross for a corner, before Bruno saw his effort cleared off the line in the following corner by Camara.
The Protectors were troubling with their through-passes which often found the intended targets, but their opponents were trying to hold them and keep a point secured till half-time.
With five minutes to go for the interval, Moura agonisingly placed his close range finish onto the wrong side of the net, before both sides marched into the tunnel with the scoreline levelled..
Hougang came into the second half hungrier and took the lead for the first time through the Moura in the 57th minute.
The striker intelligently beat the offside trap to latch onto a chipped through-pass by Azhar Sairudin before exquisitely lobbing the ball over Shahril Jantan using his outside foot.
While Lee Lim Saeng’s side was attempting to find the equaliser to put themselves back into the game, the Cheetahs increased their lead in the 70th minute.
Shunsuke Nakatake won the ball in the middle of the park before initiating a counter-attack by finding Moura, as the 28-year-old unselfishly released an unmarked Gama, who finished the ball past the hapless Shahril.
With the clock ticking its way to the final whistle, the Bishan-based club kept pushing to pull one goal back, but nothing went their way as Camara saw his header loop over the crossbar before Indra Sahdan’s effort went just wide.
Unfortunately for the Protectors, they had to finish the game with ten-man as Camara also received his second yellow card of the night after an alleged dive in the penalty box.