News • July 30, 2016
The New Paper League Cup 2016: Eagles And Cheetahs Duke It Out For Plate Glory
Written by: Shawn Lim
The New Paper League Cup Plate Final
Hougang United vs Geylang International
(Saturday, 30 July, 5pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
The New Paper League Cup 2016 Plate will be up for grabs on Saturday when Hougang United and Geylang International meet each other in the final at Jalan Besar Stadium.
While the Plate might be seen as a consolation prize for teams who have been knocked out of the main competition, it is a big deal for the Cheetahs, who have never won a trophy in club history.
Hougang are also on course to finish in the top of the half of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table this season, something the club in its four previous incarnations as Marine Castle United, Sengkang Marine, Paya Lebar Punggol, Sengkang Punggol failed to do.
Cheetahs coach K.Balagumaran understands that the club is on the cusp of making history and is keen for his charges to write their names into the record books after falling at the semi-final stage of the competition last year.
With the likes of reserve players Iqbal Hussain, Nur Na’iim Ishak and Khairulnizam Jumahat starting to hit their stride, there is a sense of renewed optimism in the club.
“If we can win the Plate and finish top three in the league, it will be a great achievement for the club,” said the former LionsXII assistant coach after beating Balestier Khalsa in the Plate semi-final.
“I was happy to see more of (Nur) Na’iim (Ishak) and (Khairul)nizam Jumahat after a disappointing first game against Tampines (Rovers) in this tournament.
“Iqbal also did well by taking on players. I really hope he can be called up for the Suzuki Cup because the national team don’t have a striker like him. I’m doing individual clips for him to convince Sundram to take him.”
In contrast, winning the Plate will be a consolation prize for Geylang, who last reached the final in the 2012 when they were still known as Geylang United and similarly like the Cheetahs, finished as semi-finalists last year.
Eagles coach Hasrin Jailani admitted that he was a little disappointed at not reaching the semi-finals again, but has urged his players to pick themselves up as there is a chance to win silverware.
“We wanted to reach the semi-finals again, but looking at it now, I told the players that whatever is left for us, we should try to win it,” said Hasrin.
“At least we are in the Plate final, so let’s see how it goes. Hopefully we can win something, because it is better than not winning anything.”
The Cheetahs will have to play without the suspended Nurhilmi Jasni, but will welcome back Fairoz Hasan and Wahyudi Wahid from suspension. Nur Ridho, Faiz Salleh and Stipe Plazibat will remain on the sidelines because of injuries.
Geylang will miss centre-back Shariff Samat and Carlos Delgado through suspension and injury respectively.
Suspension: Nurhilmi Jasni (Hougang United), Shariff Samat (Geylang International)
Hougang United – LLLWW
25/07/16 Hougang United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)
21/07/16 Hougang United 4-1 Warriors FC (League Cup)
17/07/16 Hougang United 0-2 Brunei DPMM (League Cup)
13/07/16 Tampines Rovers 6-4 Hougang United (League Cup)
23/06/16 Hougang United 1-3 Warriors FC (S.League)
Geylang International – DDLWW
25/07/16 Geylang International 1-0 Warriors FC (League Cup)
22/07/16 Geylang International 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
18/07/16 Geylang International 0-5 Home United (League Cup)
14/07/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Geylang International (League Cup)
01/07/16 Geylang International 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (Singapore Cup)