|Photo: Chris Harvey|
Hafiz Osman 70'
Mamadou Diallo 59'
Hougang win 4-3 on penalties
The Hougang faithfuls have finally have something to cheer about, at the Queenstown Stadium yesterday.
Hougang United have finally broke their losing streak of six games – this time, beating the ever-improving Jaguars in the RHB Singapore Cup preliminary rounds in penalty shootout.
Hougang made changes to the side who played against Courts Young Lions – Ignatius Ang dropping back to the bench. Fazly Hasan was given his first start for Hougang, in place of Faizal Amir. Syaqir Sulaiman, however, was handed a starting berth in the heart of the five-man midfield, alongside Ante Barac and Azhar Sairudin.
Tanjong Pagar United had their squad shrinked to 14 active players in their rosters, with injuries, suspensions and reservist duties hampering Terry Pathmanathan’s team selections. The team however, had a change of kit of sky blue tops and shorts, instead of the usual red and white traditional striped strip.
Both teams played to their equal best in the first half and cancelling each other out, often in the centre of the pitch. Hougang had the specialist set-piece taker Ante Barac threatening the Jaguars’ defence, however, to no avail.
Jaguar’s main threat came from Takaya Kawanabe and he had two chances to finish off the game in the second half, however, Cheetah’s custodian, Ridzuan Fatah, was on his best form that night.
However, the second half proved to be Hougang’s half, as they had come out the better side. On 59 minutes, Hougang had their breakthrough chance.
A good shielding of the ball from Diallo, found an unmarked Jordan Webb on the left. His cross found a flying Fazli Jaffar who managed to bring the ball down to the six yard box. A goalmouth scramble ensued; however, Diallo managed to bundle the ball into the goal line and gave the Cheetahs a much needed lead in the tie.
However, the Jaguars managed to find the equalizer in the 70th minute, through a corner, which was met by an unmarked Hafiz Osman.
By then, both teams tried to find the winning goal, however the game went to extra time and eventually to penalties.
Jaguars’ goalie Fajar Sarib had saved Hougang’s second penalty taker, Ignatius Ang’s penalty kick. As it seems, the Jaguars were looking to be the team to win the tie, however, by a cruel twist of fate, Ridzuan Fatah saved Jonathan Xu’s and Jang In Jun’s spotkick to earn the Cheetah’s a place in the quarter finals.
Hougang will meet Gombak United in the next round, with a two-legged tie awaiting both teams.
CHEETAH'S VERDICT: The team was in the fighting spirit, as shown during cup competitions in the previous campaign. However, both teams showed good fighting spirit and at some moments, it looked like a never-ending game. However, the Cheetahs manage to break their duck and the Hougang faithfuls went home in delight.
CHEETAH'S MAN OF THE MOMENT: Ridzuan Fatah was solid all night. Hardly troubled in the first half with the Jaguar's poor finishing, however, he managed to pull off amazing stops, especially in the dying minutes of extra time, when he saved a goalbound shot from Jang In Jun. The penalty shootout however, brought out the experience in him, as he saved Jonathan Xu's penalty kick to win the tie.
Ridzuan Fatah, Hasree Zais, Stanislav Vidakovic, Lau Meng Meng, Fazly Hasan, Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid, 87), Ante Barac, Syaqir Sulaiman, Azhar Sairudin (Faizal Amir, 108), Jordan Webb (Ignatius Ang, 117), Mamadou Diallo
SUBS NOT USED: Fadhil Salim, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Farhan Rahmat, Ridhwan Osman
TANJONG PAGAR UNITED
Fajar Sarib, Jonathan Xu, Hanafi Salleh, Hafiz Osman, Zahid Ahmad, Serge Souchon (Seah Si Hao 29 (S Vikneshwaran 105)), Delwinder Singh (C), Jang In Jun, Azhar Ahmad, Is Hafizuddin (Asraf Rashid 57), Takaya Kawanabe.
SUBS NOT USED: Shamsudin Hashim, Sudhershen Hariam, Syed Karim, Justin Khiang. (SOURCE)