S.League Player to Watch: Week 23

Hougang United will be looking to extend an eight-game unbeaten run on Saturday when they take SAFFC at the Hougang Stadium.

Fazrul engaging Hasree in a footrace.

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Since the middle of June, the Cheetahs have picked up 16 points from a possible 24 and are currently eighth on the table, a point behind SAFFC.

And while they were impressive in their 3-0 win over Balestier Khalsa and gritty 1-1 draws against Tampines Rovers and Home United, their best performance undoubtedly came last week as they stunned Albirex Niigata 3-2 at the Jurong East Stadium.

While it was goals from Mamadou Diallo, Sobrie Mazelan and Jordan Webb that eventually saw off the White Swans, plenty of credit has to go to the defence who did admirably well to cope with their opponents' attacking threat, despite conceding two goals to Yasuhiro Yamakoshi.

What has been even more impressive about the Hougang's recent form is the fact that they have done so without influential centre-back Stanislav Vidakovic, who has been a star for them all season long.

In his absence, Hasree Zais has stepped up and proven himself to be a more-than-capable replacement, marshalling the Cheetahs backline with authority and forming a good partnership with Syaqir Sulaiman.

Having dealt reasonably well with the dangerous Yamakoshi last week, the 23-year-old gets another chance to prove his mettle this week against the Warriors, where he will come up against either Mislav Karoglan or Fazrul Nawaz.

Karoglan looms as the more dangerous opponent given he finished last season as the S.League's top scorer, but he has been deployed in a more-withdrawn role recently, meaning there is every chance it will be his strike partner that Hasree engages in a head-to-head battle with.

Given SAFFC have not had any problems finding the net this season, keeping Fazrul and Karoglan quiet could be the first step towards what would be another impressive scalp for Nenad Bacina's men.

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