Sobrie Mazelan 14' , Jordan Webb 40', Stanislav Vidakovic 55'
It is a well known recipe for winning football game that to win any football game, is to attack as a unit and convert their chances into goals. And the Cheetahs did just that.
Coming against a new look Courts Young Lions team, and to put behind the misery of last week draw against Tanjong Pagar, Hougang United went to Jalan Besar Stadium as clear underdogs.
Nenad Bacina gave Diallo his first start of the campaign, after passing his Beep Test. Goalkeeper Ridzuan Fatah, who sustained a rib injury during the last game, was replaced by former Jaguar keeper Ng Jia Fa.
Syaqir Sulaiman also returned, to his unfamiliar position at centre-back, replaces Hasree Zais who is dropped to the bench.
Young Lions look the better side in the opening minutes with some of the wonderful individual displays by new National Team winger Benjamin Lee and Canadian midfielder Sherif El-Masri. However, it took Hougang just 15 minutes to take the lead.
A wonderful run from Jordan Webb on the right found Sobrie Mazelan, who managed to go past Al-Qaasimy Rahman, and produced a low-shot, which went past Young Lions custodian, Syazwan Buhari.
Five minutes later, a menacing Jordan Webb showed why he is the most valuable import in the S-League, when he went past the entire Young Lions defence, but his finishing disappointed the vociferous Hougang Hools, who were cheering for the Cheetahs the entire 90 minutes.
The rest of the half was dominated by Hougang, and they were rewarded for their hardwork five minutes before half-time.
A fantastic ball in from Sobrie Mazelan, released Jordan Webb, who went one on-one with the Young Lions keeper, rounded past him and tapped the ball into the empty net. 2-0 to the Cheetahs.
By then, the 20-plus strong Hougang Hools have outsang the 200-over Courts Young Lions fans, staring in disbelief at the ease of the goals, and their team, which on paper was rated outsiders by the Singapore media to win any trophy on offer in the domestic scene.
Second half started off and Young Lions decided to provide Jonathan Toto, who was clearly non-existent during the first half, and putting Shafiq Ghani to partner alongside him to salvage any point on offer and also to breach the stubborn Hougang defence, with the Meng Meng – Vidakovic – Syaqir – Faizal Amir backline.
However, the Cheetahs showed why they are a different team than last season.
Ante Barac, which was highlighted for his set-pieces, coolly lobbed his corner above the entire Courts Lions’ napping defence, and up comes the 1.93 metres Stanko Vidakovic, to head home Hougang’s third goal of the night.
Hougang would have won the game with a bigger margin, with substitute Ridhwan Osman and an injury time chance for Jordan Webb, however, Hougang would be happy with the 3-0 scoreline and an important three points to put the Cheetahs in 2nd position, at least till Sunday.
CHEETAHS VERDICT: Mamadou Diallo showed the difference, why he was missed in the game vs Tanjong Pagar. The 1.66m Guinean, playing his fourth season for the Cheetahs, showed his prowess up-front why he is Hougang’s key man for the past seasons. Sorely missed large parts of the season due to his hamstring injuries, only time will tell if his runs and finishing will play a great part in Hougang’s current season. That is, if he stays injury free.
Credit is also given to Nenad Bacina, which showed clearly why his current side, without any major signings, managed to outrun the entire Young Lions team, which contains Benjamin Lee, Sherif El-Masri, former Cheetah Aqhari Abdullah, Jonathan Toto and Sirina Camara. Even the hype of Benjamin Lee, who is touted as the next Singapore footballing son, due to his father’s heritage links, managed to be kept quiet by a solid Hougang defence, and the ever impressive Ng Jia Fa in goal. - (SOURCE)
TEAM LINE UPS
Ng Jia Fa, Syaqir Sulaiman, Lau Meng Meng (c), Stanislav Vidakovic, Ante Barac (Ridhwan Osman, 74), Azhar Sairudin (Basit Abdul Hamid, 84), Jordan Webb, Faizal Amir, Mamadou Diallo, Nurhilmi Jasni, Sobrie Mazelan (Fazli Jaffar, 63).
SUBS NOT USED: Hasree Zais, Fazly Hasan, Ignatius Ang
COURTS YOUNG LIONS
Syazwan Buhari, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Faritz Abdul Hamid, Tajeli Selamat, Hafiz Abu Sujad(c), Faris Ramli, Aqhari Abdullah(Shahfiq Ghani, 45), Gary Loo(Sirina Camara, 24), Benjamin Kristoffersen Lee, Sherif El-Masri, Johnathan Toto(Haniff J.Sadique, 77)
SUBS NOT USED: Neezam Aziz, Neil Vanu, Shamil Sharif, Abdul Hadi