By Suhas BhatFollow @@suhasrbhat
Takeshi Nagasawa scored a ferocious strike from distance in the 42nd minute to leave the Cheetahs trailing by a goal at the break in Friday's Great Eastern-YEO's S.League clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium, with the Japanese side also dominant in possession for much of the first half while Hougang struggled to test Albirex goalkeeper Hiroaki Hara.
Weaver's side put in a much-improved display after the break, however, with Mamadou Diallo looking especially keen on adding to his solitary goal of the new campaign.
Despite the player's best efforts, Albirex held firm and inflicted a first defeat on Hougang, securing a second successive win in the process following last week's 2-1 triumph over Home United.
Speaking after the game, Weaver believed that a lack of sharpness in the first half proved costly for his team. Nevertheless, he was not too disheartened with the result and focused on his side's determined performance within the second half.
"We played really well in the second half, I was really pleased with the players. We created some chances, we could have gotten ourselves something out of the game but we didn't," commented Weaver in the post-match press conference.
"I think we finished the stronger team, to be honest. In the first half, with their midfielders constantly rotating their positions, they made it difficult for us. But in the second half, we got to grips with them which enabled us to create a few more chances for ourselves.
"Certain players in my team are disappointed that they didn't close that shot down. If we had done that, I think we could have at least got something out of the game.
"It was certainly a game of two halves."
The former Manchester United youth coach also stated that the Hougang attack needs to improve ahead of their league encounter with Woodlands Wellington next Friday.
"Our passing and creativity in the attacking third wasn't precise enough, wasn't accurate enough and we gave the ball away.
"If you don't create those clearcut chances, you're not gonna score goals.
"There were a few long-range shots in there but I think we just need to carry on training and get a little bit closer [to the goal].
"We've made an okay start [to the season] and we have to press on now against Woodlands and hopefully get back on track and get a result."
Albirex coach Koichi Sugiyama, on the other hand, was all smiles after the game as he saw his young side maintain possession despite some aggressive pressing by their opponents on the night.
It was also a marked contrast to their outing against Home United last week, during which they were often forced on the backfoot. Sugiyama had demanded his players to improve on their ball retention after that game and they did just that on the night.
"Today's [Friday's] game was difficult but I'm satisfied overall," he said. "Our players did a very good job.
"The result may have been just 1-0 but we played better than in the last game. I'm satisfied as we controlled the game.
"We had chances to score more goals but we got three points in the end and that's all that matters."
The White Swans next play host to title rivals DPMM FC on Monday night and the former Urawa Red Diamonds defender bemoaned the short space of time available for rest between the fixtures.
"DPMM are a very strong team this year as well. I think my players really need a rest.
"But it doesn't matter. We'll do our best to prepare for the game over the weekend."
Albirex lead the table with a maximum of nine points while Hougang have registered four points from their first three fixtures.