Hougang United vs Brunei DPMM: Cheetahs eye third straight scalp
Another almighty duel for third place.
- Tampines Rovers 1-2 Hougang (S.League)
- Hougang 4-2 Home United (S.League)
- Hougang 1-2 Geylang International (League Cup)
- Hougang 2-1 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)
- Hougang 4-1 Warriors FC (League Cup)
- DPMM 3-0 Warriors FC (S.League)
- Geylang International 1-1 DPMM (S.League)
- DPMM 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
- DPMM 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (League Cup)
- DPMM 1-0 Home United (League Cup)
With only six matches left until the end of the S.League season, the Cheetahs enter this clash knowing that victory will place the fate of finishing third in their own hands.
Having taken the scalps of giants Home United and Tampines Rovers in their last two games - the last a stunning last-gasp victory - Hougang will have an extra spring in their steps as they gun for a third successive big win.
But the visitors will present stiff opposition and have done well to get back into the mix for a top-three placing, after a sluggish start to the season that cost them the chance to retain their title.
The Wasps have won seven of their last nine games in all competitions, while they are unbeaten against Hougang in their last five encounters, winning thrice.
Defender Wahyudi Wahid is ruled out for Hougang with a long-term injury, while midfielder Nurhilmi Jasni is suspended.
DPMM have no injury concerns, but have to cope with the absence of suspended centre-back Yura Indera Putera.
Key Battle: Fumiya Kogure vs Rosmin Kamis
Hougang are a hardworking outfit who never give opponents an easy game, but the presence of Fumiya Kogure has added a touch of class to their performances this season.
The reigning Player of the Year has enjoyed a largely excellent campaign since joining this season from Albirex Niigata (S), often dictating their play with his impeccable technical abilities.
The Japanese attacking midfielder has contributed four goals and six assists - second-most and joint-most respectively in the team - to their overall league tally of 28 goals, while scoring two match-winning strikes as well.
DPMM captain Rosmin Kamis could well come up against Kogure and will have his work cut out to stop him. The veteran Bruneian is likely to be deployed in defence and needs to draw on all his experience to combat Hougang’s main source of creativity.
With Kogure being a dead-ball expert as well, DPMM will also have to cut down on needless fouls.
K. Balagumaran is expected to field the same starting line-up for the third straight game and avoid making any major changes to a winning side.
It is a bit harder to predict Steve Kean’s plans for DPMM - he could well deploy a more conservative approach and try to hit Hougang on the break with the pace of Sergio and Azwan Ali.
Last Five Meetings
- 17/07/16 Hougang 0-2 DPMM (League Cup)
- 14/05/16 DPMM 3-2 Hougang (S.League)
- 04/03/16 Hougang 0-0 DPMM (S.League)
- 20/10/15 Hougang 1-2 DPMM (S.League)
- 29/07/15 DPMM 1-1 Hougang (S.League)
Facts and Figures
Hougang have conceded four times after the 90th minute, the most of any team in all competitions.
They are the only team not to concede from a corner in the league.
They have been awarded the most penalties (five) in the league. All were scored by Stipe Plazibat.
Plazibat has scored 13 times and made three assists, accounting for more than half of their 28 league goals.
DPMM’s Sergio has hit the woodwork four times in the league - only Albirex’s Tatsuro Inui can match that.
With nine and eight assists respectively, Sergio and Azwan Ali have each made more goals than any other player in the league.
DPMM kept their first clean sheet in 15 league games in the previous match.
It will be a tight clash but DPMM might just nick it here. 2-1 to the visitors.