Singapore Premier League • November 7, 2015

Two-Goal Hero Syfawan Leads Young Tigers To Comeback Victory


Written By: Kenneth Ho

A two-goal salvo by Syfawan Syahlan helped Harimau Muda to overturn a one-goal deficit and run out 2-1 winners over Hougang United on Friday evening.

Nurhilmi Jasni had given Hougang the lead in the first minute but Syafwan Syahlan struck twice thereafter to extend the Cheetahs’ eight-game winless run.

It could have been a largely different result for the Cheetahs though, had they put away half the chances that came their way at the Hougang Stadium.

Hougang had taken only 16 seconds to open the scoring, with Nurhilmi’s deflected shot creeping past a wrongfooted Ilham Amirullah.

The Cheetahs’ bright start was followed by more goal-scoring opportunities, but Harimau goalkeeper Ilham was in inspired form as he made several superb saves.

In the fourth minute, Ilham reacted quickly to push away a curler by Vuk Sotirovic and he was at it again minutes later to deny the striker once more.

Sotirovic would spurn another gilt-edged chance in the 11th minute before Ruzaini Zainal followed suit and swung a shot straight at Ilham despite enjoying plenty of space from 10 yards out.

A header by Yuki Uchiyama was then palmed away by Ilham on the half-hour mark and it allowed Harimau to fight their way back into the game five minutes later, albeit against the run of play.

From a counter, Akhir Bahari headed a ball against the woodwork but the rebound fell for Syafwan to poke home the equaliser in the 35th minute.

That goal came at a cost though, as Akhir injured himself in the process and had to be replaced by Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula.

Another injury to Irfan Zakaria in the 44th minute meant that Harimau had used up two substitutes before the break, but that did not stop them from coming out all guns blazing after the restart.

Ridhuan Barudin had to deny Faizat Ghazali with his feet in the 54th minute while another chance went begging three minutes later when Syafwan failed to beat the keeper in a one-on-one situation.

The goal would finally arrive in the 78th minute, when Syafwan beat the offside trap to slot the ball into the back of the net.

Staring at the prospect of defeat, Hougang were spurred into action and proceeded to pepper Harimau’s goal with shots.

Kunihiro Yamashita’s header was cleared off the line while Ilham smothered Shimono’s strike.

Hougang’s final effort came via Diego Gama in the 89th minute, but his fiercely-struck free-kick was tipped over by Ilham as Harimau hung on for victory.

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Delwinder Singh, Kunihiro Yamashita, Atsushi Shimono, Diego Gama, Vuk Sotirovic, Fareez Farhan (Haidil Sufian 71′), Ruzaini Zainal (Faizal Amir 84′)), Faiz Salleh (Kenneth Chang 90′), Nurhilmi Jasni (C), Yuki Uchiyama

Harimau Muda: Ilham Amirullah (GK), Irfan Zakaria (Muhd Naim Zakaria 45′)), Amirul Hisyam (C), Kumaahran Sathasivam, Azrul Nizam Muhammad, Faizat Ghazali, Akhir Bahari (Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula 35′), Annas Rahmat (Shahrul Igwan 78′), Kenny Pallraj, Amirul Ikmal, Syafwan Syahlan