News • July 12, 2017

The New Paper League Cup 2017: Warriors Face Hougang In Must-Win Match


The New Paper League Cup 2017 (Group A)

Hougang United vs Warriors FC

(13 July, Thursday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Warriors FC will head into their final The New Paper Group A clash against Hougang United at Hougang Stadium on Thursday night, knowing that a victory will help them seal a spot in the last four of the competition.

While the Choa Chu Kang-based side came from behind to overcome Home United 4-3 in their opening game, there was no repeat of that as they conceded early and succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to defending champions Albirex Niigata (S) last time out.

The result leaves Warriors in second spot with three points after two matches, but head coach Razif Onn is confident they can still qualify for the semi-finals and is looking for an improved showing from his charges.

“It’s not the end of our League Cup campaign just yet,” he said.

“We want to win against Hougang and hopefully we will play much better football this time round.

“If we played like how we did in the second-half (against Albirex), I believe we can get a result. We had many chances and tried to come back but just could not score.”

Hougang come into this on the back of consecutive draws against Albirex and Home and Razif insists the Cheetahs are a team they cannot take lightly.

“Hougang played well against Albirex and Home; those were good performances and I think we have got a lot to do if we are to stand a chance,” he added.

“That said, if we allow Hougang to press us especially in our own half, it will become a problem for us. We need to press them in the middle and win the ball back, it’s as simple as that.”

Prime League goalkeeper Mukundan Maran was handed his first senior start against Albirex and although Razif was pleased with the former’s performance, he believes there is still room for improvement for the 19-year-old.

“I had a long discussion with my goalkeeping coach Lee Bee Seng before the game and we decided we should give him a chance,” he explained.

“He could have done better for the first goal, but there was nothing he could do for the freekick. Overall, he did alright although it might be too early to play him but it’s over and I don’t want to dwell on it.”

Hougang meanwhile, lie in third spot and can qualify for the semi-finals should they beat Warriors and other results go their way.

They held Home to a 1-1 draw in their second group match to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to five games, with Stipe Plazibat cancelling out Fairoz Hasan’s opener.

Head coach Philippe Aw was however pleased with what he has seen so far and remained optimistic.

“It’s two points dropped for us against Home,” he said. “But the boys put up a wonderful performance and we did extremely well against a quality team with national team players and quality foreigners.

“It’s still a tricky group and we have to beat Warriors, but I’m happy that we’re still in the running to qualify from this Group of Death after two tough games.”

Hougang United – WWWDD

10/07/17 Home United 1-1 Hougang United (The New Paper League Cup)

07/07/17 Hougang United 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (The New Paper League Cup)

03/07/17 Hougang United 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

30/06/17 Home United 2-3 Hougang United

20/06/17 Hougang United 1-0 Ceres-Negros FC (PHI) (RHB Singapore Cup)

Warriors FC – LDWWL

10/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

07/07/17 Warriors FC 4-3 Home United (The New Paper League Cup)

02/07/17 Warriors FC 1-0 Brunei DPMM

28/06/17 Garena Young Lions 0-0 Warriors FC

22/06/17 Warriors FC 0-1 Tampines Rovers