Draw with Hougang United hampers Lion City Sailors’ title tilt
SPL top scorer Plazibat draws blank against former club Hougang
The Lion City Sailors' title challenge suffered a blow after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hougang United at Bishan Stadium in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) last night.
|LION CITY SAILORS||HOUGANG UNITED|
|(Shahdan Sulaiman 60)||(Shawal Anuar 34)|
All the pre-match hype centred on the Sailors' Stipe Plazibat - the league's leading marksman with nine goals - facing his former team, but the Croat was well marshalled by a disciplined Hougang side.
In fact, it was Cheetahs forward Shawal Anuar who stole the limelight with an opening goal that oozed composure.
In the 34th minute, the 29-year-old broke the offside trap and latched on to Charlie Machell's angled pass before coolly rounding goalkeeper Hassan Sunny and slotting home his second goal of the season.
Hougang's compact defending restricted their opponents, who bagged 11 goals in their last three matches, to mostly long-range efforts, with the Sailors registering 22 shots in total.
And that was exactly how they made their breakthrough on the hour mark.
Singapore midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman unleashed a 30-metre drive, which Hougang coach Clement Teo described as a "beautiful equaliser from a quality player".
"The draw was a fair result," said Teo, whose soak-and-strike approach against the big guns also paid dividends during last month's 2-1 win over SPL leaders Tampines Rovers.
"My players were determined, disciplined, demonstrated team spirit and ran till the end, I couldn't have asked for more."
His opposite number, Sailors coach Aurelio Vidmar, said: "We controlled the game, but it was very hard to penetrate when they have 10 players behind the ball...
"It's not over in terms of the title challenge. Yes, seven points are a lot. (But) we've got lots of games coming."
The sixth-placed Sailors are on eight points, seven adrift of leaders Tampines, who pipped Young Lions 1-0. Hougang are fourth with nine points.
LAST NIGHT'S OTHER RESULTS:
Tampines Rovers 1 Young Lions 0
Tanjong Pagar United 0 Geylang Int'l 1