Ong still upbeat in Harimau chances

Ong Kim Swee believes his Harimau Muda side are still favourites for a top-three finish in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League despite Monday's 0-0 draw at Hougang United.

S.League: Harimau Muda

By Gabriel Tan

The Young Tigers entered the game at the Hougang Stadium looking to leapfrog third-placed Albirex Niigata, but they struggled to find a way past an inspired Fadhil Salim, who made a serious of outstanding saves.

While the result was enough to see Harimau move ahead of the White Swans into third place on goal difference, they have a tricky tie against title-chasing Tampines Rovers on Friday while their Japanese rivals have an arguably simpler game against 9th-placed Gombak United.

Nonetheless, Ong refused to be overly critical of his charges' failure to convert against the Cheetahs, and believes the point earned could still be crucial in the race for a top-three finish.

"We have to accept that not all games go our way," he said. "Games like tonight [Monday] happen, where we dominated and had many chances but didn't convert.

"Hougang had a good strategy and were well-organised, plus the keeper made a number of point-blank range saves to deny [Ahmad] Hazwan and [D.] Saarvindran.

"Still, one point is better than nothing and we can still fight for a top-three finish."

Harimau head into Friday's game without a host of key players, including Mahalli Jasuli, Fadhli Shas, Gary Robbat and Wan Zack Haikal, who are all on international duty with Malaysia in preparation for November's AFF Suzuki Cup.

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