News Singapore Cup • November 22, 2017

RHB Singapore Cup 2017: Aw Harbours Cup Final Dream


RHB Singapore Cup 2017 (Semi-Final, First Leg)

Global Cebu FC (PHI) vs Hougang United

(27 September, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Rashid Sulaiman

RHB Singapore Cup title-aspirant Hougang United will take on Philippines’ Global Cebu FC in the semi-finals first leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night.

With an eye on this match, Hougang rested nine players from their previous Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League match against Brunei DPMM in preparation for this match.

The notable absentees were Japanese duo Atsushi Shirota and Fumiya Kogure as well as midfield linchpins Fabian Kwok and Zulfahmi Arifin. Goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid was also on the bench but was called into action in the second half to replace the injured Ridhuan Barudin.

The selection switch was done to ensure fresh legs when the Cheetahs entertain Global as head coach Philippe Aw aims to guide the Cheetahs to their first ever RHB Singapore Cup final.

“The two games in the Cup semi-finals are very important for us. That is why we made nine changes against DPMM,” said Aw.

“During this period we have five games in 15 days plus traveling to Brunei and back. We have used a big squad of players.”

“We going to put out the best eleven and give Global a good game and hope to make the final.”

Aw, whose side defeated foreign invitee Nagaworld FC 8-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, feels that his players are showing their mettle at the right time of the season and believes they have what it takes to win the semi-final tie.

“Of course we will need to see who is the best available 18 for the game at Jalan Besar because we really want to do well in the Cup,” explained the former Home United head coach.

“Towards the end of the season we got players peaking and putting up a good performance and it is good for us.I am also glad that Iqbal (Hussain) played a good games in the last few matches.”

But Aw is keeping his cards close to his chest and would not reveal his starting eleven, suggesting he could pull off a surprise like he did against Nagaworld yet again.

The Cambodians had not expected the Cheetahs to start with Spaniard Pablo Rodriguez in the second leg, and they were also caught out by Aw’s different tactics from the first leg.

For Global, they endured a feisty match against Boeung Ket FC from Cambodia to eventually advanced to the last four with a 4-3 aggregate win.

With Singapore head coach Akbar Nawas at the helm, the People’s Club might have a trick or two up their sleeves to become the first Filipino club to be in the RHB Singapore Cup final.

But fatigue might prove to be their downfall as they have had to endure a tight fixture list and long travelling time to their away games in their domestic league. They most recently fell 1-0 to AFC Cup inter-zonal finalists Ceres-Negros FC just three days prior to this encounter.

Before leaving Singapore after their match against Boueng Ket, Akbar did warn that his side might be drained both physically and mentally as they will be playing a game every two or three days with little rest time in between those matches.

As a result of that, they have not had the best of form lately as they have only won one competitive match ever since their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-finals exploits. Their only win came against Davao Aguilas who are at the foot of the eight-team Philippines Football League.

Global Cebu FC – LDWDL

24/09/17 Ceres-Negros FC 1-0 Global Cebu FC

16/09/17 Global Cebu FC 0-0 FC Meralco Manila

13/09/17 Global Cebu FC 3-1 Davao Aguilas FC

09/09/17 Davao Aguilas FC 2-2 Global Cebu FC

25/08/17 Stallion Laguna FC 2-1 Global Cebu FC

Hougang United – LLWWL

23/09/17 Hougang United 1-2 Brunei DPMM

19/09/17 Brunei DPMM 1-4 Hougang United

15/09/17 Hougang United 2-1 Garena Young Lions

09/09/17 Tampines Rovers 5-1 Hougang United

18/08/17 Hougang United 0-1 Geylang International