Hougang United come from behind to deal the Eagles, a shocking big defeat!
(HGFC Photo Credit : Football Association of Singapore)
By Marvin Gold
Last night in Round 2 of the Singapore Premier League, Hougang United FC bounced back from their opening day defeat, with a 4-1 victory over Geylang International FC. It was the first home game at the Hougang Stadium, and the win certainly gave their diehard "Hools" fans, something to shout about!
It was the visiting Eagles who drew first blood, when Amy Recha drifted across the box from the left and released a fortuitous looking grounder. It initially did not appear threatening, but somehow sneaked in at the far post. Mukundan Maran, making his debut in goal, would not have been happy with this error of judgement for the home side.
The Cheetahs though responded 7 minutes later, with a move that involved 2 players who would go on to feature predominantly in this match. Farhan Zulkifli threaded a sublime through ball right into the stride of Tomoyuki Doi who sidefooted home confidently for the equaliser.
There were no further goals in the first half, although the Eagles managed to string together some promising moves. However, it was Hougang who dominated the first 45 mins led by a flying performance from Farhan on the left flank, and solid contributions from Idraki Adnan, Shawal Anuar and Gilberto Fortunato. Haltime arrived with the score at 1-1 and both teams would be satisfied with that.
(Matheus Moresche Photo Credit : Football Assn of Singapore)
The Eagles brought on their long-awaited new strike force for the second half. Matheus Moresche had already impressed with two goals in their game against Tanjong Pagar United. He was brought on along with Sylvano Comvalius, the much touted goal-machine. The new boys were just getting into stride when the Cheetahs took the lead in the 49th minute, earning a penalty after Fortunato was fouled in the box following a fast break from defense. Doi slotted home the penalty and this early goal would prove to prevent the Eagles from hitting the next gear.
The Eagles took some time to recover from this shock, but regained their composure around the hour mark and started to dominate possession without causing a real threat. Coach Mohd Noor Ali responded by sending on Fareez Farhan in the 67th minute and the Eagles had three potential match winners in the forward line. However, any hopes of a recovery were squashed in the next four minutes.
In the 80th min, Doi laid off for Hafiz Sujad at the top of the box and he released a measured shot that landed in the side netting, just past the diving Hairul Syirhan. Two assists and a goal for Doi, who was the star striker with Albirex Niigata in the 2020 season. Then 3 minutes later, it was the final "nail in the coffin". Again from just outside the middle of the box, Doi slipped the ball to the onrushing Fortunato who broke through the line and sidefooted it home. 4-1 it was to the Cheetahs and that’s how it stayed to the end.
HGFC Coach Clement Teo and his team have clearly made some adjustments in training and in this game, we actually see the level that this squad has the potential to achieve. Moving Farhan Zulkifli to the left wing back is a masterstroke as his speed and abilities were showcased last night. Doi took home 2 goals and 2 assists and is proving to be an astute signing. The supporting cast of Idraki Adnan, Shawal Anuar and Maksat Dzhakybaliev also pulled in a solid shift, something that Hougang was missing last season.
Geylang can take some positives from this game. That includes the performance of new signing Faizal Roslan, who has gone straight into the starting 11 and looks like he has played there for years. In Sylvano, Moresche and Fareez Farhan, they also have a strikeforce with great power, should they be able to connect the rest of the team to the frontline without the injured midfielder, Barry Maguire.
Edited by Raj Kumar
Marvin Gold became a Singapore football fan, after being dropped during a Selection Trial for a youth team, when he was 15! Since then (1996), he's been following the SPL (or S.League) since its inception 25 seasons ago. And he's been in love with the local game over the years, so much so that he just can't get enough of it!
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