Stags Aim To Get Back Into Title Race

By: Alia Harvey

Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League 2017

Hougang United v. Tampines Rovers

25 May (Thursday), 7:30pm, Hougang Stadium

Hougang United will host us tonight for our last league game before international break. We took all three points the last time we faced the Cheetahs, and are looking to walk away with the win again tonight.

What’s our form at the moment?

Despite the result against Albirex Niigata last week, we move forward and focus on tonight’s game against Hougang United. We ended round one of the league on a high by ending Home United’s undefeated run, and finished the round with six wins and two losses. With nine games played this season in the league, we are one of the two teams that have yet to end a game in a draw, with the other being Balestier Khalsa. We were on a four game winning streak, but it ended after our 4-1 loss to the White Swans last week. With six wins and three losses so far this season, we look to get back on track tonight as we continue to fight for the title.

What’s Hougang United’s form at the moment?

Hougang United kicked off the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League season with a 2-0 win over Geylang International at home. Since then, the Cheetahs have four wins, four losses, and a draw. In the first round of the league, they went on a three-game losing streak, where the lost 2-0 in their games against Brunei DPMM, Home United, and Albirex Niigata (S). Hougang haven’t won a game this season with a great number of goals. The most they’ve managed to score over their nine games played so far this season, is two goals. Six of their games played this season so far have ended 2-0, where Hougang have won three and lost three. They started their second round of the league last week against Geylang International with a 1-1 draw.

Past encounters with Hougang United?
In our last 19 meetings, we are the more dominate side with 12 wins over the Cheetahs three. Four of our clashes have been draws. Last season, we played the Cheetahs four times, and had two wins, one loss, and one draw. Our biggest game in terms of goals came in the group stage of the League Cup on 13 July, a game where we walked out 6-4 winners, and where Shahdan Sulaiman broke the deadlock. He also scored the first goal in our 4-1 victory over the Cheetahs last season on 26 February 2016. Our only loss against Hougang United last season came on 17 August, a game which also saw Fazrul Nawaz stretchered off with an ACL injury.

The last time we faced Hougang United?

We had a less than ideal situation the last time with faced the Cheetahs. We missed Yasir Hanapi, Ismadi Mukhtar, and Madhu Mohana through suspension, whilst Shahdan Sulaiman and Fazli Ayob were out as well due to injury. We only had five substitutes on the bench, with one being a goalkeeper, and two being Prime League players Aide Shazwandi and Noor Hilman. Ivan Dzoni broke the deadlock with a penalty, before Khairul Amri made it 2-0. The game ended 2-1 to us, after Hougang United were awarded a penalty a minute into additional time, which Fumiya Kogure slotted home.

Khairul Amri headed in the second goal, which secured us all three points

Team News?
Shakir Hamzah will be out tonight following the red card he received against Albirex Niigata. Head coach Juergen Raab has called up U21s Diego Silvas and Zulfadhmi Suzliman for tonight’s game. On Hougang United’s side, Ali Hudzaifi and Delwinder Singh are both suspended for tonight’s match. Iqbal Hussain and M. Anumanthan are also unavailable due to National Service. Captain Nurhilmi Jasni is also out with a collarbone injury.

How’s the S.League table looking?
After the second round of the league kicked off last week, the main difference in the table is that Home United have regained the second position after their win against the ninth Garena Young Lions, whilst we have slipped back to third after our loss against Albirex Niigata (S). We are seven points behind the undefeated, and leaders Albirex Niigata (S), who are top of the table with 25 points. Warriors’ win over Balestier Khalsa means they now trail us by just one point at fourth position, whilst the Tigers sit seventh with just six points. Hougang United’s draw against Geylang International place them at fifth with 13 points, whilst the Eagles are two points, and a position behind.

Other S.League fixtures this week?
Home United v. Brunei DPMM [25 May, BS]
Balestier Khalsa v. Geylang International [26 May, JBS]
Albirex Niigata (S) v. Garena Young Lions [26 May, JES]

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