|Photo: Chris Harvey|
Jung Hee Bong 8’
Hafiz Rahim 69’
Mamadou Diallo 43’
The Cheetahs fell to their third defeat this season, this time to a resolute Gombak United defence and also their fast counter attacks, which proved to be fatal.
The Cheetahs were missing the presence of Stanislav Vidakovic, who was suspended after collecting five yellow cards this season. Azhar Sairudin also missed out, still serving his three match ban after being sent off during the Tampines game.
It only took Gombak eight minutes to get into the score sheet. A defensive mix-up between a makeshift centre-back pairing of Hasree Zais and the returning Syaqir Sulaiman, found an unmarked Jung Hee Bong. Jung made no mistake in converting the chance in the penalty box.
Jung proved to be a handful to the Hougang defence as he had another chance after 21 minutes, but he shot wide.
Gombak started the day at 10th place, but they seemed to be comfortable around the ball, especially in the midfield, where Chris Anderson and Obadin Aikhena dominated the centre of the field. However, Hougang, as they proved to be a difficult opposition as often, found a goal against the run of play.
A great combination between Ante Barac and Jordan Webb found an unmarked Mamadou Diallo at the far post. Diallo then slotted in for his second goal for the season.
Hougang looked an improved side after the break, and finding the elusive winning goal. They came close on the 49th minute, after a Ante Barac’s cross found Hasree Zais, but Zaiful Nizam managed to parry the ball to safety.
However, it was the home side who managed to find the winning goal. A corner from Julien Durand had the Hougang defence panicked. Fadhil Salim initially had a wonder save to deny Obadin Aikhena, however the Cheetah’s defence failed to clear the ball, and instead found Hafiz Rahim at the far post to put the hosts into the lead.
Hougang then introduced their attacking arsenal of Ignatius Ang and Basit Hamid to shore up the attack, after the goal, however, they failed to find the equalizer.
It was the Bulls second win all season, and they leapfrogged SAF FC and Woodlands to eighth. Hougang stayed in sixth, after failing to close down the point gap between them and Harimau Muda. The Cheetahs will return to Hougang Stadium to face Albirex Niigata on Friday.
CHEETAHS VERDICT: Hougang rued loads of missed chances, especially from Diallo and Jordan Webb. Webb, who has been the most lethal weapon in the Hougang attack, had the Bulls’ defence muted him all night. Hougang certainly missed the services of the Croatian Vidakovic, plus the creativity of Azhar Sairudin, which has been missing in the middle of the field since the Tampines game. Hougang would be most pleased to welcome back Vidakovic, especially when Syakir Sulaiman was sent off in the 84th minute for a second bookable offence.
OPPOSITION VERDICT: The Bulls did well to contain Ante Barac , Diallo and Jordan Webb, as they had also identified the Hougang defence that is missing Vidakovic. Jung Hee Bong proved to be a handful as his height and speed troubled the Hougang backline all-night. However, the Bulls might be missing playmaker Mustaqim Manzur, who may face a lengthy spell on the sidelines, after being sent to hospital, after clashing with Faizal Amir.
CHEETAHS MAN OF THE MATCH: Hougang did lack a lot of creativity during the game, however, the one who stands out is definitely Ante Barac. Barac worked tirelessly all night to supply the balls towards the Cheetah’s frontline.
Fadhil Salim, Hasree Zais, Syaqir Sulaiman, Faizal Amir, Lau Meng Meng (c) ,Jordan Webb, Ante Barac, Nurhilmi Jasni, Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid, 72), Mamadou Diallo, Sobrie Mazelan (Ignatius Ang, 76)
SUBS NOT USED: Ridzuan Fatah, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Ridhwan Osman, Fazly Hasan, Farhan Rahmat
Zaiful Nizam, Nurullah Hussein, Ismail Yunos, Walid Lounis, Hafiz Rahim, K.Vikraman (Nur Naiim Ishak, 85), Mustaqim Manzur (Fareez Farhan, 35), Chris Anderson, Obadin Aikhena (c), Julien Durand (Fairoz Hassan, 71), Jung Hee Bong
SUBS NOT USED: Amran Addin, Shafuan Sutohmoh, Fuad Jufri, Samuel Benjamin (SOURCE)