|Photo: Chris Harvey|
Jung Hee Bong 8’
Hafiz Rahim 69’
Mamadou Diallo 43’
In an even game played at the Jurong West Stadium, it was Gombak United who emerged victorious as they came away with a narrow 2-1 victory against Hougang United. It was Gombak's first home victory of the season, after they were held to a frustrating goalless draw late last month before going down to Brunei DPMM who came visiting last Saturday.
Missing the presence of the towering Stanislav Vidakovic in the heart of defence, Hougang fell to an early goal in the 8th minute. A deep cross from Nurullah Hussein was knocked into the path of an unmarked Jung in the six yard box. He was left with the simplest of tasks of slotting the ball into the bottom corner past Hougang’s Fadhil Salim for his first goal of the season.
Minutes later, the Korean then had a golden opportunity to extend his team’s lead further but could only direct his header straight into the arms of Fadhil.
In a rather physical game, it was the Bulls who were on the end of some rough treatment from the visitors. On 35 minutes, winger Mustaqim Manzur had to be stretchered off after falling awkwardly following a late challenge. He was later seen leaving the pitch with a neck brace.
The Cheetahs came close to scoring in the 40th minute when Sobrie Mazelan found himself with some space in front of him after fellow strike partner Mamadou Diallo had put him through. But the 28-year-old’s shot just swerved wide of Zaiful Nizam’s left-hand post.
Diallo would not be denied a goal and the equalizer for Hougang three minutes later though. After receiving a pass from Jordan Webb, Sobrie then raced down the left before hitting a low shot. It was however deflected into the path of Mamadou Diallo who took a first-time shot, as it found its way past a stranded Zaiful.
All square at the break, both sides were determined to get that second goal which could possibly give them all three points when the second half resumed. And it was Gombak who got that crucial goal in the 69th minute.
Skipper Obadin Aikhena’s header from a corner was palmed away superbly by Fadhil, as it fell to Jung. He then cut the ball across a crowded six yard box for Hafiz Rahim to prod home from close range. It proved to be enough for the home side to pick up all three points, but it was without any late drama.
In the 80th minute, the stout Zaiful produced a superb reaction save from Hasree Zais’ close range header following an Ante Barac corner. Things then turned awry for the Cheetahs when Syaqir Sulaiman was dismissed six minutes from time, picking up his second yellow of the night.
Seconds before the full-time whistle, Barac’s cross was knocked down by substitute Ignatius Ang to Jordan Webb but Zaiful rushed out to claim the ball before the Canadian could get a touch. It proved to be the last piece of action of the game as Gombak held on for maximum points.
With the win, Gombak are now 8th in the league standings, with nine points.
Despite picking up three points from this match, Gombak coach K Balagumaran was less than impressed with his team’s performance and felt that his team were lucky with the win.
“Sometimes in football, you need luck. Overall, I’m not impressed with the way we played.”
On Jung Hee Bong, who netted his first goal of the season for his side last night, Balagumaran admitted that he had done some work with the forward during training and was happy that it paid off.
Despite Jordan Webb being in red-hot form prior to this game, Balagumaran remarked that he did not really worry about the threat the winger might have posed and instructed his players to play their normal game.
His opposite number, Nenad Bacina, lamented the absence of Vidakovic due to suspension and suggested that the outcome could have been different if the defender had started.
“Both goals conceded were sloppy. I guess maybe we missed Vida tonight as the tallest guy in the team and that’s why Gombak managed to win all the high balls in thr box.”
“In the same way, we tried to penetrate and we equalized before half-time. We controlled the second half, but could not turn our domination into goals,” added Bacina.
When asked about Syaqir’s dismissal, Bacina felt that it was a little harsh and that other fouls during the game did warranted yellow cards.
Hougang will next host an Albirex Niigata (S) side who are currently on a poor run of form of their own. The Japanese outfit will attempt to arrest their slide of four games without a win when they visit the Hougang Stadium on the 13th of this month. For the Bulls, they will make the short trip to the Clementi Stadium to take on defending champions Tampines Rovers on the 15th.
Gombak: Zaiful Nizam (GK); Nurullah Hussein, Obadin Aikhena (C), Walid Lounis, Ismail Yunos; Mustaqim Manzur (Fareez Farhan 35’), Christopher Anderson, Julien Durand (Fairoz Hasan 71’), K Vikraman (Muhd Nur Naiim 81’); Hafiz Rahim, Jung Hee Bong Unused subs: Shafuan Sutohmoh, Amran Addin, Fuad Jufri, Samuel Benjamin
Hougang: Fadhil Salim (GK); Lau Meng Meng (C), Hasree Zais, Syaqir Sulaiman, Faizal Amir; Jordan Webb, Ante Barac, Nurhilmi Jasni, Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid 72’); Mamadou Diallo, Sobrie Mazelan (Ignatius Ang 76’) Unused subs: Ridzuan Hasan, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Ridhwan Osman, Fazly Hasan, Farhan Rahmat
Yellow card(s): Nurullah Hussein, Fareez Farhan (Gombak); Fazli Jaffar, Syaqir Sulaiman, Faizal Amir (Hougang)
Red card(s): Syaqir Sulaiman (Hougang) (SOURCE)