|Photo: Chris Harvey|
Jordan Webb 90'
Kunihiro Yamashita 55’, Norihiro Kawakami 90’
A late goal from Norihiro Kawakami in the dying seconds disappointed the Hougang faithfuls, who have turn up In great numbers, prior to the match.
In a fixture which had shown plenty of drama last season, the Cheetahs and the White Swans locked their horns again at Hougang Stadium on Friday.
Hougang had students and teachers from Cedar Primary School in attendence that filled up the grandstand, alongside the boisterous Hougang Hools, who were more than happy to have the children cheering along with them.
In a week where Hougang United had become a common word in Facebook searches and common search topic in the search engines, especially in Scotland, where the impending takeover of Glasgow Rangers FC of a Singapore-based consortium, led by Cheetah’s chairman, Mr Bill Ng.
The impact was powerful as there were a number of Glasgow Rangers supporters, who are based in Singapore, turning up in numbers to attend the game and most probably, inform their fans back home about the Hougang’s great spirit and enthusiasm.
The Cheetahs certainly did not disappoint the 1,200-plus crowd as they went all out attacking from the first minute. Cheetah’s forward Sobrie Mazelan almost open up a lead as early in the forth minute, after fine piece of pass from Cheetah’s chief tormentor, Jordan Webb. However, the striker did not managed to connect to Webb’s pass.
Albirex also came in to the game to recover their season. After a wonderful start of three wins early in the season, the White Swans had drawn once and lost two games in the trot, in prior to this game.
Led by one of their mainstayers last season, Atsushi Shimono, The White Swans had plenty of possession in the game. However, Hougang were never going to make it easy to the Swans, with custodian Fadhil Salim showed why he is the fans’ favourite with some wonderful saves in the first half.
The first half ended with both sides on equal chances and possession. However, Albirex upped their tempo in the second half. It was no surprised that Albirex took the lead in the 56th minute.
After a wonderful save from Fadhil to deny Yamakoshi, Albirex had a corner kick. A wonderful cross from the corner, and centre back Kunihiro Yamashita was tall enough to head home the cross to give the Japanese side the lead.
After the goal, Hougang increased their tempo and dominated possession in their own half. A flurry of chances came, especially Mamadou Diallo, who had most of it. A spray of passes by Ante Barac and the timely runs of Mamadou Diallo and substitute Nurhilmi Jasni had the crowd screaming in delight, but the Cheetahs could not find their finishing touch to find the equalizer.
However, in the first minute of injury time, Ante Barac floated a long pass into the penalty box that caused confusion to Albirex backline. Mamadou Diallo was adjudged to be pushed by one of the Albirex defenders. Referee Abdul Malik points to the spot. Chief tormentor Jordan Webb wasted no chance in scoring from the penalty spot.
The goal sparked thunderous celebrations around Hougang Stadium. However, Albirex had the last laugh after Norihiro Kawakami headed home a late, late goal to send the Cheetahs into despair and disbelief.
The game ended in the favour of the White Swans, however the 1,200-plus crowd will have many memories to discuss amongst their peers, particularly about the game.
CHEETAHS VERDICT: Dominated most in the first half, however they just could not convert their chances. Ante Barac and Jordan Webb had produced wonderful individual performances. The return of Stanislav Vidakovic added bigger protection at the heart of their defence. Fazly Jaffar had also produced one of his great performances, starting at his unfamiliar position at left-back. However, the Cheetahs were plain unlucky to concede both goals from set-pieces, something that coach Nenad Bacina would work out with the team during training sessions.
CHEETAHS MAN OF THE MOMENT: Too many to choose from. It was one of the best games this season by a mile, however Jordan Webb showed why he is the Cheetahs main man in the team, and caused loads of confusion in the Swans backline.
Fadhil Salim, Hasree Zais (Khayrulhayat Jumat, 78), Stanislav Vidakovic, Fazly Jaffar, Lau Meng Meng (c) , Jordan Webb, Ante Barac, Azhar Sairudin, Ignatius Ang (Nurhilmi Jasni,60), Mamadou Diallo, Sobrie Mazelan (Basit Hamid, 66)
SUBS NOT USED: Ridzuan Fatah, , Ridhwan Osman, Fazly Hasan, Farhan Rahmat
Takuma Ito, Norihiro Kawakami, Kunihiro Yamashita, Keisuke Matsui, Takeshi Ito, Atsushi Shimono, Musahi Okuyama, Keita Kobayashi(Masatake Sato, 46), Hidekazu Yamamoto (Yuki Ichikawa, 58), Yasuhiro Yamakoshi, Sho Kamimura
SUBS NOT USED: Oguriyama Yuta, Masahiko Ando, Kohta Tamakawa, Toshikazu Soya, Hiroaki Hara (SOURCE)