The Unofficial Hougang United FC Supporters Blog

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Diego marks return with equalizer

David Lee

HGFC 1 - 1 CYL

With a clinical flick of his head, the pain of a prolonged, injury-enforced absence was soothed.

Hougang United's Diego Oliveira marked his first start in four months after recovering from a knee injury with a 70th-minute header.

Post match, the 28-year-old told The New Paper: "It didn't feel good at all to be out for so long."

"But now, it feels great to be back, and even better to score a goal to get us one point."

Earlier, Courts Young Lions drew first blood in the first half in a match where both teams rested key players ahead of important assignments in the coming week.

For the host, they have two legs of the Singapore Cup semi-finals against Albirex Niigata, who beat them on penalties in the League Cup final in July, on Tuesday and Friday.

The Young Lions on the other hand, leave for Vietnam today to take part in the Eximbank HCM City Cup, in preparation for the South-East games in November.

As such, the first half at the Hougang Stadium was largely a cagey affair before 20-year-old forward Haniff Sadique gave the visitors the lead with a well-worked goal.

Hafiz Abu Sujad's cross from the left fell to Nazrul Ahmad Nazri, and the pint-sized midfielder teed up Haniff to score his first goal of the season from inside the six-yard box.

Fairoz Hasan then attempted an audacious 40-metre shot that Hougang goalkeeper could only parry.

Nazrul's night would end in tears though when he sustained an ankle injury following a rough tackle to him rule him out of the Vietnam trip.

Both teams attempted to inject more quality into the game in the second half by bringing on several first-team players who were rested.

But it was the Hougang attacking duo of Noor Ali and Jordan Webb who turned the game on it's head as the Cheetahs piled forward for the equalizer, which duly came 20 minutes before the end.

Noor Ali was given time to deliver a measured cross and Oliveira made no mistake from close range.

Webb could have sealed victory with five minutes left, but is efforts curled agonisingly wide of Jasper Chan's far post.

Hougang coach Aide Iskandar admitted that with his team enjoying mid-table status, his priority is to deliver another cup final for a club that had punched well above their weight this season.

He said: "Credit to the Young Lions and while we should have won three points, I cannot fault the players for their commitment."

Young Lions coach Robin Chitrakar was left to rue another injury to his team, despite another battling draw.

He said: "I'm pleased with how the team played to instructions, but my main concern now is to see Nazrul recover from injury as soon as possible." - Newpaper on Sunday

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