The Unofficial Hougang United FC Supporters Blog

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Late Sakurada strike seals semi-final berth

Muhd Khalis Rifhan

Shimpei Sakurada 90'

SAFFC needed a rebound from a penalty in the dying minutes to seal the win against Hougang United and progress to the semi-final

The intention was evident from the starting eleven for both SAFFC and Hougang United as several senior players made their return to the respective squads.

Hougang were forced to make do without Stanislav Vidakovic as he is set to miss the rest of the season after he underwent an operation two days ago due to a ligament injury.

Both teams started the game without committing too many men forward as they were cautious to not commit any mistake early in the game with a semi-final berth on the line.

The only real attempt on goal in the first twenty minutes was a Basit Hamid shot from twenty yards out. The shot did not cause any concern for the returning Shahril Jantan in goal for the Warriors.

The Cheetahs almost got the breakthrough seconds before the teams headed to the dressing room but Shahril did well to hold onto a low driven shot by Ante Barac from the edge of the box.

Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Fadhil Salim pulled off a stupendous save a minute after restart as he palmed away Daniel Bennett’s attempt from point blank.

Hard as they tried, the visitors were still unable to hit the ball past the former national custodian as Jordan Webb was denied three minutes after the hour mark.

The game was heading to extra-time when the referee awarded a penalty to the home side as Fazly Hassan was adjudged to have handled the ball from an SAFFC player’s shot.

Tatsuro Inui stepped up to take the penalty but it was well saved by the Cheetahs custodian much to the relieve of the Hougang bench.

But the celebrations were short-lived as Shimpei Sakurada got to the end of the rebound to fire in the winner for the Warriors and send Richard Bok’s men to the semi-final. (SOURCE)

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