League Cup Plate final | Jalan Besar Stadium | Sat 30 Jul | 5pm
Hougang United’s shot at glory.
Hougang United Form
- Hougang 2-1 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)
- Hougang 4-1 Warriors FC (League Cup)
- Hougang 0-2 Brunei DPMM (League Cup)
- Tampines Rovers 6-4 Hougang (League Cup)
- Hougang 1-3 Warriors FC (S.League)
Geylang International Form
- Geylang 1-0 Warriors FC (League Cup)
- Geylang 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
- Geylang 0-5 Home (League Cup)
- Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Geylang (League Cup)
- Geylang 2-2 Albirex (Singapore Cup)
It may not be the League Cup final but the Plate still is a silverware of sorts and this can be the big break Hougang are looking for.
In the club’s history, they have never won any minor nor major tournament and winning this Plate could give the Cheetahs a platform to build upon for more titles. Balestier Khalsa proved this in 2012, when they won the Plate and subsequently added the League Cup and Singapore Cup to their cabinet in the following seasons.
Geylang too are similarly hoping a win here can help them reach the heights of glory, as they are accustomed to in the old days. The Eagles have not earned any silverware since 2009, when they won the Singapore Cup.
Both teams’ roads to the Plate final were not easy. Hougang were arguably lucky to escape with a 2-1 win over Balestier in the semi-final while Geylang required a last-gasp goal by Mark Hartmann to edge Warriors FC.
But how they got here does not matter now, as the cash prize of $8,000 and silverware awaits the winners.
Suspensions will affect both teams, with Nurhilmi Jasni and Sharif Samat missing out for Hougang and Geylang respectively.
The national players called up by V.Sundramoorthy are also unlikely to feature, as they played against Cambodia on Thursday.
No injuries were picked up in their last game and both teams are expected to field their strongest possible line-up.
Key Battle: Isa Halim vs Fumiya Kogure
The League Cup may prove to be a blessing in disguise for Isa as he has managed to rack up playing time and is displaying decent form.
The tough-tackling midfielder is showing the awareness that made him a Singapore international regular previously and he should earn a recall if he continues to improve.
Fumiya Kogure has been a bright spark for Hougang and it should be no different against Geylang. His goal against Balestier showed he can be deadly from set pieces but the Japanese is just as effective from open play.
It will be a battle in midfield and whoever comes out on top should have a decisive say in which team will emerge victorious.
Hougang coach K.Balagumaran has expressed doubts over whether he should have fielded his strongest line-up right from the beginning after giving his fringe players game time. If he did, Bala might be vying for the League Cup instead.
So expect Bala to put out his strongest 11 and go for a win.
Opposite counterpart coach Hasrin Jailani will continue to put out youngsters as he is missing up to seven players to the international call-up.
But he too wants a Plate win in his first season as Geylang’s coach and so it won’t be a surprise if Hasrin decides to use as little fringe players as possible.
Past five meetings
- 18/06/16 Geylang 1-2 Hougang (S.League)
- 07/04/16 Hougang 3-1 Geylang (S.League)
- 09/11/15 Geylang 2-2 Hougang (S.League)
- 27/06/15 Hougang 2-2 Geylang (League Cup)
- 19/05/15 Hougang 1-0 Geylang (S.League)
Facts and Figures
- Both teams have forwards in the running for the League Cup’s Golden Boot award. Hougang’s striker Jozef Kaplan and Fumiya Kogure are joint-top with four goals while Mark Hartmann has three.
- Geylang and Hougang’s best finish in the League Cup was second, while both teams have never won the Plate before.
- Geylang have managed to keep a clean sheet in their last two games, the first time they have done so.
It will be a tough fight and the game could most probably end in a 1-1 draw.