Cheetahs stun Warriors
Hougang win a thriller as Weaver's men miss chance to go top
HOUGANG UNITED 3
(Igor Cerina 17, 68, Fazli Jaffar 53)
WARRIORS FC 2
(Miroslav Pejic 7, Nicholas Velez 60)
They had a chance to knock Brunei DPMM FC off their perch last night.
But Warriors FC could not make it count, after they were defeated 3-2 by Hougang United in a thrilling Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League encounter at the Hougang Stadium yesterday.
The loss means the Warriors remain in second spot, one point behind DPMM, who have a game in hand.
The Bruneian side's clash with defending champions Tampines Rovers at Clementi Stadium tomorrow night becomes an even bigger contest, with the Stags six points behind the leaders in fourth spot.
Speaking after the game, a disappointed Warriors head coach Alex Weaver said: "It's a missed opportunity, definitely. We had possession and many chances to put ourselves in front, but Hougang looked more threatening.
"Our defence played too high up and made a few big errors, and we were unfortunate to concede some of the goals."
Meanwhile, Cheetahs' head coach Amin Nasir credited his players' fighting spirit.
He said: "It was never going to be easy playing against a quality side like the Warriors, but my team were full of discipline and our strength was our team work.
"We know we are always the underdogs, but we battled hard and I'm very grateful that we've managed to get all three points."
Both sides started the match at a blistering pace, with Hougang forcing Warriors custodian Hassan Sunny to make a double save just after kick-off.
After just seven minutes, a Hafiz Rahim cross found an unmarked Miroslav Pejic in the box and he blasted his 10th goal of the season to put the visitors in the lead. Their lead lasted for 10 minutes, though.
A goal-kick by goalkeeper Fadhil Salim somehow found Igor Cerina in the Warriors' penalty box and he made Hassan pay, rifling a shot into the bottom corner for the equaliser.
Both sides continued trading blows after half-time and Hougang moved into the lead after a Geison Moura pass found Fazli Jaffar, who rounded Hassan to tuck the ball home in the 53rd minute.
The Warriors stormed back and Marin Vidosevic launched a free-kick into the box that fell at the grateful feet of Nicholas Velez who coolly finished his move and drew Warriors level.
The visitors missed a handful of clear chances and it came back to haunt them after Azhar Sairudin's corner found the head of Cerina, who thumped in his second goal of the night in the 68th minute.
Things went from bad to worse for Weaver's men, as five minutes from time, Pejic was sent off for allegedly stepping on Diego Gama after the latter's tackle.
Said Amin: "We had a habit of dropping points mid-season, but I'm glad to see my side maturing now. They realise they need to be consistent and fight for their results.
"It's back to the drawing board again and we will try to improve for our next game."
- HOUGANG UNITED:
Fadhil Salim, Wahyudi Wahid, Igor Cerina (Fairoz Hassan 81), Shunsuke Nakatake, Firman Hanif (Lau Meng Meng 48), Diego Gama, Geison Moura, Fazli Jaffar (Erwan Gunawan 88), Faizal Amir, Azhar Sairudin, Nurhilmi Jasni.
- WARRIORS FC:
Hassan Sunny, Zulfadli Zainal, Shi Jiayi, Dharham Aziz (Hafsyar Farkhan 54), Miroslav Pejic, Marin Vidosevic, Nicholas Velez, Kevin McCann, Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah, Hafiz Rahim (Suria Prakash 71).
LAST NIGHT'S OTHER RESULT:
BALESTIER KHALSA 1
ALBIREX NIIGATA 1