Behe hat-trick helps Warriors end S.League season on a high
All five of the Warriors’ goals came in the second half, after they trailed by a goal at the break.
Several mistakes at the back from the Cheetahs, who had striker Stipe Plazibat playing in the heart of defence after several injuries robbed them of their centre-backs, cost them dearly as Warriors turned the game around in quick fashion.
I don’t know [what happened]. I need to watch the video. Mistakes in the defence maybe
It was something that left their coach K. Balagumaran dumbfounded, as he struggled to explain what went wrong in the second half.
“I don’t know [what happened]. I need to watch the video. Mistakes in the defence maybe,” he said.
“I was surprised the way Stipe played as a centre-back, he did very well in the first half but the second goal was his mistake. Then Warriors started coming at us.
“I think if we had taken our chances the way we were attacking in the first half, if we scored two, three goals it would be different. But we let them come back and probably the result for Geylang played a part.
“They boys targeted top five but the news came in that Geylang won (beating Home United to seal fourth place) so maybe that affected them.”
As Balagumaran suggested, Hougang did have a number of decent chances.
However, Afiq Noor and Faiz Salleh both could not beat Warriors goalkeeper Basil Chan, while Fumiya Kogure smashed a fierce drive into the side-netting instead after being allowed to run in from the left.
Hougang custodian Khairulhin Khalid was called into action for the first time in the game only in the 27th minute and he managed to pull off a superb double save, first denying Hafiz Nor’s effort and then recovering superbly to prevent Behe’s effort from the rebound.
Quick feet from Iqbal Hussain minutes later allowed him to create space for his own shot, but he could not keep it down, while Raihan Rahman spurned a golden opportunity on the break.
But the visitors eventually took the lead in the 37th minute after Iqbal beat two men superbly from the right before curling the ball into the bottom corner from outside the box.
Yet the Cheetahs’ dominance did not carry over into the second half.
This year, there were a lot of frustrations, a lot of ups and downs. To win the last game in this manner is good
Just five minutes after the restart, Behe levelled matters by slotting home at the far post after Nikola Rak flicked on Madhu Mohana’s long throw.
Six minutes later, it was Rak who lashed in a first-time volley after Plazibat headed Hafiz Osman’s cross straight into his path.
Khairulhin then did well to prevent Ridhuan from scoring after Shaiful Esah played the winger through with an exquisite long ball, but it did not matter as Warriors soon doubled their lead through Behe.
The striker was left free inside the box as Fazli Jaffar swung in a cross in the 69th minute, and he gladly rose unchallenged to nod it in.
Fazli then got himself onto the scoresheet as well through a stroke of luck, after his over-hit cross was misjudged by Khairulhin and sailed into the net in the 81st minute.
By then, Hougang looked a lost cause and Behe duly took advantage in injury time.
Picking up the ball after Hougang lost it deep in their half, the French striker curled it into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to complete his hat-trick and seal the win.
Warriors coach Razif Onn called the victory a special way to end the season, especially given all the “frustrations” they have faced throughout this year.
“We were fortunate to win big, but it’s a good result,” Razif said.
“As you can see, throughout this year, there were a lot of frustrations, a lot of ups and downs. To win the last game in this manner is good, and I appreciate the boys for putting on a good show.”
Razif also stated that he will be retaining Behe’s services for next season, as Warriors look to rebuild.
“He scored 19 goals this year, and the top scorer (Rafael) Ramazotti has 20, so he’s very close. I think only a stupid coach will not take him,” Razif explained.
“I will definitely do all it takes to keep him for next season.”
Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo unless stated