Home United vs Hougang United: Cheetahs looking to continue fine run

S.League | Jalan Besar Stadium | Friday 29 Apr | 7.45pm 

Billed As

A reversal of roles

The lowdown

In the past, when Home United played Hougang United, the Protectors would be considered the favourites to win the game.

However, that will not be the case this year.

Hougang have been in fine form since the season began and they are actually sitting in third place after eight games have been played.

Home United form

  • Warriors FC 1-2 Home (S.League)
  • Geylang International 2-2 Home (S.League)
  • Home 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home (S.League)
  • Home 4-1 Young Lions (S.League)

Hougang United form

  • Warriors FC 0-1 Hougang (S.League)
  • Hougang 3-1 Geylang International (S.League)
  • Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Hougang (S.League)
  • Hougang 1-0 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
  • Garena Young Lions 1-3 Hougang (S.League)

In fact, in their last five games, Hougang only lost to current league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) and have won the rest.

While Home will come into this game on the back of a 2-1 win over Warriors FC, the jury is still out on whether they have shook off their early season inconsistencies as Home drew 2-2 with Geylang International and lost 3-0 to Albirex prior to the Warriors game.

This should push the odds towards Hougang’s favour and they will rightly feel confident of grabbing a win at Jalan Besar Stadium.

That said, it cannot be forgotten that the ball is round and Home’s striker Ken Ilso has done plenty (four goals in his last five games) to suggest the Protectors could still nick this match.

Team News:

Home’s full-back Ang Zhiwei is nowhere near full recovery as is Prime League midfielder Mahathir Azeman.

Faris Ramli made his return from injury in Home’s last game and he could feature once more here.

On Hougang’s front, Ali Hudzaifi is still out for the long term due to his ACL injury while Delwinder Singh is doubtful due to his ankle injury.

Key Battle: Ken Ilso vs Stipe Plazibat

Will this be a battle of which striker scores more goals for their respective teams? That could be the case in this match.

Ken Ilso will look to be the difference against Hougang

Both strikers have scored four goals apiece in their last five and are capable of creating something from nothing.

What will be vital though, is their teammates’ ability to provide them with the service they need to do so.

The Coaches

A season ago, it was easier to predict Home coach Philippe Aw’s formation. But this season, it is a different story.

If Aw’s objective is to confuse his opponents, then he is doing a fine job. Striker Khairul Nizam was deployed on the flanks against Warriors while Song Ui-Young could be seen operating as an attacking midfielder.

But K.Balagumaran is an experienced coach and this should not faze him one bit. After beating Home 1-0 earlier in the season, he will be quietly confident that he can overcome any tricks his Home counterpart comes up with.

Past Five meetings

  • Hougang 1-0 Home (S.League, Feb '16)
  • Hougang 0-1 Home (S.League, Sep '15)
  • Home 4-0 Hougang (S.League, May '15)
  • Hougang 1-1 Home (S.League, Mar '15)
  • Home 1-2 Hougang (League Cup, July '14)

 

Facts and Figures

  • Hougang have the joint-second best defence in the league (eight goals conceded) along with Tampines Rovers
  • Home have the edge in the head-to-head record, after winning 20 out of 32 games. Hougang have only won six times.
  • Home have not scored a goal in the first 15 minutes of the game this season

FourFourTwo prediction

Home United 1 Hougang United 2. The Cheetahs were given a bye last week and being the fresher of the two sides, they might have the energy required to overcome Home.

Photos: S.League