|Poster: Ian Su|
Venue: Woodlands Stadium, 7.45pm kick-off
Tickets: $5.00 (Adult), $ 1.00 (Student)
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Both Hougang and Woodlands have seen their positions rise and then slide in the past few weeks, and after a string of unfruitful performances find themselves straddled within mid table. Both teams are separated by a single point, have had back to back losses and drawn their latest encounters.
What ever happens on Friday this clash would determine who goes up a notch and who stays put in the Great Eastern Yeo's S-league standings; and Hougang certainly cannot afford to be left behind.
Hougang United and Woodlands Wellington have had some pretty exciting exchanges in the past. We recalled how Hougang United fashioned a 4-1 victory over the Rams last May, goals coming from former Hougang striker Diego Gama and Jordan Webb.
But then in mid July 2011, Hougang United squandered a 2-0 lead going into the second half and allowed Rams to despatch a 2-3 comeback in the dying minutes. Woodlands Korean striker Moon Soon Ho delivering the blow at the death - a heartbreak moment for Hougang fans.
Going forward to this Friday evening, Rams will be counting on their Korean hit-man again to provide the much needed arsenal and off set the goal differences that were handed to them recently courtesy of Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa.
Moon will most probably partner Singaporean striker Goh Swee Swee up front in a 4-4-2 formation. The former Young Lions and Balestier forward can be a tricky customer with his speed being his best asset and may cause some problems for Hougang's defences.
Woodlands coach Salim Moin will most likely instruct his charges - former Geylang United centerback Daniel Hammond and ex-Cheetahs defender Duncan Elias to resist the flanking of Hougang United's top scorer Jordan Webb who has 3 goals to his tally.
As for Hougang United, their last encounter could only manage a 1-1 draw against Tampines Rovers after leading at half time, only to be rued by a controversial equalizer. But Hougang fans can take to heart that the Cheetahs despite a man down never wavered and gave their host a torrid time.
Centerback Stanislav Vidakovic was outstanding in purging the Stag's onslaught the entire evening and he showed no mercy to attackers and gave them very little space in the air, much to the delight of the travelling Hougang Hools.
The Croatian's tendency of going forward and supplying aerial assault has certainly paid off, knocking in two goals from set pieces so far.
Coach Nenad Bacina revealed in a post match interview that he was disappointed in the result but gave credit to his players for their character and resilience playing with 10 men for the remaining 60 mins.
Midfielder Azhar Sairudin was sent off for a bad tackle 30 mins into the game and a straight red card would mean he will not feature in this Friday's match. In his absence, Ridhuan Osamn or Nurhilmi Jasni will partner Ante Barac in midfield.
Probably a 4-5-1 formation for Hougang United this time with an extra man to handle Woodlands' midfield duo Abdul Rahman and K.Sathairaj, both who have been instrumental in Woodlands campaign build up. They will be watched closely.
In attack, Diallo Mamadou finally opened his scoring account last Sunday when his freekick eluded Tampines' custodian and floated into the top left corner. The Stag's keeper handled the ball outside the box and Diallo gave Hougang the lead at the half time whistle.
We have seen how Diallo can turn on a dime and beat his marker and he will most certainly be a lively figure in the Woodlands back four. Let's keep our fingers cross that his form continues against the Rams.
The defining factor for Friday's game will be on the teams attacking front. A head-to-head encounter between twin terrors Moon Soon Ho & Goh Swee Swee and the duo of Jordan Webb & Diallo Mamadou. All the best to the Cheetahs!
Come on Hougang! NO Surrender!
Sunday 25 Mar 2012
Tampines Rovers 1 : 1 Hougang United
Tampines Rovers - (Benoit Croissant 93')
Hougang United - (Diallo Mamadou 45')