|Photo: Great Eastern Yeo's|
Farhan Rahmat 7’, Megat Hikal 23’
Danial Tan 51’
In their opening game of the Great Eastern Yeo’s Prime League season, Hougang United beat Woodlands Wellington 2-1 in a close-fought match at the Hougang Stadium on Saturday evening. It was however, by no means an easy victory for the Cheetah Cubs of Hougang United.
Hougang who dominated the first 45 minutes, took a comfortable two-goal lead into the break with goals from Farhan Rahmat and Megat Hikal. It was Woodlands who started the second 45 the stronger side, as Danial Tan reduced the deficit for the visitors early in the second half. However, they just could not find that elusive equaliser as Hougang clung on for all three points.
It took less than a minute for the first shot of the game, when Oswind Suriya of Woodlands fired a shot that hit the side-netting. But it was Hougang who opened the scoring in the 7th minute through birthday boy Farhan Rahmat, nodding home from close range after he connected with an Ignatius Ang corner from the right.
Sidiq Abdullah of Woodlands then almost equalized in the 22nd minute, but headed just over from three yards out as got to the end of an Ali Razali corner. He was to rue that miss as Hougang went on to double their lead a minute later.
Latching onto a brilliant pass from full-back Manoj Kumar on the right, Megat Hikal made some space for himself before unleashing a shot that somehow found its way into the back of the net from a very tight angle.
Despite their dominance in the first half, Hougang looked a totally different side in the second, allowing Woodlands to come back into the game. Woodlands, on their part, looked inspired in the second half. Woodlands Coach Marko Kralijevic admitted that he was “very angry” with his boys’ performance in the first half, but declined to reveal what he said to his team at half-time.
“I was very angry. I cannot tell you what I said. But in the second half, we changed our formation and it worked, you know”, Marko remarked.
It was a sluggish performance from the Hougang side as they constantly lost possession cheaply and were almost punished just two minutes after the break. However, goalkeeper Ameerul Shafiq made a point-blank save to deny Danial Tan the equalizer after some sloppy defending from his defenders.
Danial Tan would not be denied his goal five minutes later though. Teammate Andy Ahmad’s initial shot was parried by Ameerul into the path of Danial as he was left with the simplest task of tapping in from three yards out as the visitors pulled one back.
Woodlands pushed forward in numbers in search of that second goal and almost found it in the 77th minute but could only see Ali Razali’s free kick effort come off the upright, after Ameerul got the slightest touch to it. Hougang had to endure some nervy moments towards the end of the game but managed to cling on for three points.
Hougang coach Hyrizan Jufri was pleased with his team’s first-half performance as his boys executed his game plan to perfection, but felt that they should have scored more and put the result beyond doubt.
“In the first half, they did whatever I wanted them to do. We should even have scored more and settled the whole issue”, said Hyrizan.
He also gave credit to the second half performance by his opponents as they fought back strongly, making the game look even.
Woodlands will take on Tampines in their next Prime League game at home on the 3rd of March, while Hougang host NFA U17 a day later. Both matches kick off at 5pm.
Hougang United Prime League: Ameerul Shafiq (GK), Hasree Zais, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Fazly Hasan, Ignatius Ang (C), Saseetharan Kaleemuthu, Benedict Chua, Shameer Afiq (Haider Mohamad 89’), Megat Hikal (Hydhir Mohamad 77’), Farhan Rahmat, Manoj Kumar (Khairulnizam Zakaria 90’)
Woodlands Wellington Prime League: Ang Bang Heng (GK), Oswind Suriya, Farhan Hairoddin (C) (Zuraizi Saifollah 46’), Dinie Fitri, Ali Razali, Andy Ahmad, Sidiq Abdullah, Omar Ismail (Roihan Rashid 83’), Mark Tan, Danial Tan, Zulkairnain Malik - (SOURCE)