Hougang United vs Young Lions: Will the underdogs stand tall again?

S.League | Hougang  Stadium | Thurs 19 May | 7.30pm 

Billed as

A test of Hougang United’s resolve to do well.

The lowdown

Hougang United Form

14/05/16 Brunei DPMM 3-2 Hougang (S.League)

04/05/16 Hougang 1-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)

29/04/16 Home United 3-2 Hougang (S.League)

14/04/16 Warriors FC 0-1 Hougang (S.League)

07/04/16 Hougang 3-1 Geylang International (S.League)

Young Lions Form

12/05/16 Young Lions 3-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
05/05/16 Geylang 3-1 Young Lions (S.League)
28/04/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Young Lions (S.League)
21/04/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Young Lions (S.League)
08/04/16 DPMM 4-1 Young Lions (S.League)

It is never easy trying to bounce back from a loss, much less one that came via conceding a late goal in a game but that is what Hougang have to contend with when they face Garena Young Lions on Thursday.

The Cheetahs have surprised many with their form early in the season but they will enter the match against Young Lions on a three-game winless run.

While Hougang came from behind to hold Tampines Rovers 1-1 with ten men, this result was sandwiched between 3-2 losses to Home United and Brunei DPMM respectively.

The defeat to DPMM must have stung Hougang, especially since they fought back from a two-goal deficit and were seemingly on course for a share of the spoils, until Shahrazen Said popped up with a 82nd-minute winner at Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium.

The Young Lions on the other hand are buoyed by a huge 3-1 victory over Warriors FC. This was their first triumph since their opening day win over Balestier Khalsa and it ended the club’s 10-game losing streak.

The Young Lions will want to prove that their recent win was no fluke, but a wounded side like Hougang will be dangerous and eager.

So, a thrashing could still occur, especially if the Young Lions fail to hold their lines in defence.

Team news

Hougang will continue to miss Fumiya Kogure, who is out with an upper limb injury. Wahyudi Wahid and M.Anumanthan are suspended as well.

This will leave Hougang threadbare at the back, and potentially in midfield.

For Young Lions, Khairul Amri was taken off after overextending his knee in the match against Warriors.

However, the striker waved away concerns that it would rule him out for the game against Hougang. A place on the bench should be the most likely scenario here.

Key Battle: Stipe Plazibat vs Firdaus Kasman

Someone else has to fill Kogure's role for Hougang

Without Fumiya Kogure around, Hougang’s creativity will surely take a hit.  Stipe Plazibat will be expected to assume the mantle of being chief playmaker and he could be deployed as a deep-lying forward to facilitate this.

Firdaus Kasman, the Young Lions captain and over-aged player, is a capable defensive midfielder and he will be tasked with shutting Plazibat down.

The Coaches

Hougang coach K Balagumaran will be eyeing three points here, especially against the bottom placed team in the league. It should be likely that the Cheetahs will go out to attack.

Young Lions coach Patrick Hesse finally savoured victory once again and he will be wise to stick with what worked in his side’s favour against Warriors instead of switching things around.

Past five meetings

10/03/16 Young Lions 1-3 Hougang (S.League)
01/10/15 Hougang 2-2 Young Lions (S.League)
20/07/15 Young Lions 1-3 Hougang (S.League)
02/03/15 Hougang 1-1 Young Lions (S.League)
18/10/14 Young Lions 2-0 Hougang (S.League)


Facts and Figures

  • Jozef Kaplan finally broke his 10-match goal-scoring drought, after netting an equaliser against DPMM in his last game.
  • The win over Warriors FC was the first time this season somebody else besides Fareez Farhan had scored for the Young Lions. Hazim Faiz, Hami Syahin and Khairul Amri were the scorers that day.
  • Young Lions have not achieved back-to-back victories since October 21, 2014. That year, they followed a 2-0 defeat of Hougang with a 2-1 win over Woodlands Wellington.
  • The Cheetahs are yet to lose at Hougang Stadium this season.

FourFourTwo prediction

Hougang are hurting and they will want to grab a win here to boost their morale. 2-0 to the Cheetahs.

Photos: S.League