1930hrs, Hougang Stadium
|PHOTO: Po Hui|
The Cheetahs came into the match mindful of their French opponents formidable form. A 4 game winning streak is still a scary thought and a daunting task for the underdogs who aren't as potent as they were in their last few outings.
But when the whistle blew for the evening of 4th September, you could sense the extra bounce in the orange black outfit and were on the get go with Carlos Delgado spotting Jordan Webb lurking on the left flank.
On the 26 minute mark, the Canadian's usual pacy runs gave him extra leverage against his right back opponent to gain attacking space and trotted towards goal.
And sure enough, Webb's efforts were met by Vitor Borges in the box who completed the finishing with a thank you tap in. This is the Argentine's second S-League goal for Hougang United since his transfer from Balestier Khalsa.
1-0 at the break.
Etoile FC were quick to level things 14 minutes into the second half. Defender Selim Kaabi was first to pounced on to a loose ball when Fadhil Salim failed to clear the ball further with his punch. The french rose above the rest to nudge in the equalizer.
With the score level again, both sides began the urgent business of dominance with Etoile up-gearing their foray of counter-attacks.
Hougang United had a few scary close calls when Etoile were repeated fouled just outside the penalty box.
On the 62 minute, the French were rewarded a free-kick at the edge of the penalty box. But the dipping shot only flew past it's target with only inches from the goal mouth, presenting the Hougang crowd a heart-stopping scare.
But 5 mins later, the tides changed hands as the Cheetahs, urged on by the black attired HOOLS, reformed their attacks and capping the next goal in stunning fashion.
On the 67th minute, Azhar Sairudin caught sight of the rebound moving away from goal and from 35 yards out hammered in a sweet spot screamer to beat the french custodian. And just like that, the stadium erupted into a frenzy with highly charged supporters wanting to join the foray of Cheetah celebration.
Hougang United held on to this precious win til the end, not discounting the exceptional back-line that stood steadfast against the Etoile juggernaut.
In the final minutes, the Cheetahs could have gone 3-1 ahead when substitute striker Diego Gama received a freekick from Carlos Delgado, but the lanky striker's header could only find the safe hands of Etoile's keeper who deflected the ball over the bar.
Captain Shariff and his counterparts in defense were top notch at the back. Ratna Suffian, Faizal Amir and Lau Meng Meng deserved 2 thumbs for their relentless vigilance that kept Etoile at bay. They rocked the house and bagged 3 points! Thank you very much!
“It was never an easy game against a well-drilled team, especially after three weeks’ break. But it is good to see us start winning against the top teams again, which is good for team morale leading to the semifinals of the Singapore Cup.”
The former national skipper (Aide Iskandar) also had glowing words for his matchwinner.
No doubt Azhar has potential, his technical abilities allow him to make those good passes,” he said of the former Home United man, who had made the switch to Hougang at the start of this season. -(SOURCE)
"Hullo! Hullo! We are the Hougang Boys!
Hullo! Hullo! We are the Hougang Boys!
And if you are a top 4 team, surrender or you'll die!
We all follow HOUGANG!"