Warriors FC were on their way to a first win of the Singapore Premier League season until Fareez Farhan struck a late penalty to make it 1-1 at Hougang Stadium on Sunday.
Hougang United FC and Warriors FC continued their winless start to the season after a 1-1 draw in the only Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) on Sunday evening at Hougang Stadium.
Warriors looked to have earned all three points through a Ho Wai Loon goal, but Hougang struck in the dying moments via a Fareez Farhan penalty to earn a share of the spoils.
After the kick-off was delayed for more than half an hour due to inclement weather, Hougang came out all guns blazing from the get-go and almost scored after just 70 seconds.
Forward Muhaimin Suhaimi found space to fire a piledriver from 30 yards out but the effort flew just wide of the right-hand post.
Warriors also went close on four minutes with Sahil Suhaimi just failing to apply the finishing touch on Ho Wai Loon’s free kick.
Hougang were largely dominant in the opening exchanges, with Iqbal Hussain firing over from eight yards after being teed up by Nazrul Nazari.
The Cheetahs were then forced into a change after just 12 minutes, with French-Italian forward Antoine Viterale forced off due to an ankle injury and was replaced by Stanely Ng.
Hougang United Football Club (HGFC) needed a late Fareez Farhan penalty to earn a 1-1 draw against @Warriors Football Club in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League on Sunday.
Posted by FOX SPORTS Asia on Sunday, 15 April 2018
Philippe Aw’s side should have gone ahead two minutes later when Illyas Lee connected well with Nazrul’s right-wing cross in the area.
However the centre-back’s volley was somehow thwarted by a stunning reflex save by Warriors goalkeeper Mukundan Maran – who was making his league debut for the club.
Warriors – who were missing their star forward Jonathan Behe – struggled to find joy in the attacking third, but somehow managed to break the deadlock five minutes before half time.
Ho’s wicked inswinging corner was misjudged by Hougang custodian Ridhuan, with the latter only managing to palm it into his own net to the horror of the home supporters.
It could have been worse for the Cheetahs two minutes into the second half when Warriors captain Kento Fukuda slammed home the rebound after Sahil’s free kick was parried into his path. However the ‘goal’ was ruled out by the linesman’s offside flag.
The Warriors went close again to getting a second on 61 minutes, with wide man Tajeli Salamat seeing his shot denied by the left-hand post after being set up by Sahil.
Hougang then brought on Fareez to add more impetus to the attack, but they continued to be kept at bay by a stout Warriors backline led by Fukuda.
Time looked to be running out for the Cheetahs but they somehow managed to find the equaliser five minutes from time.
After drawing a handball from Poh Yi Feng after his surging run into the box, Fareez stepped up to convert from 12 yards out to salvage a point for the home side.
The result meant Hougang came off the foot of the table while Warriors remain third-from-bottom.
Hougang will face Tampines Rovers FC away at Our Tampines Hub next Wednesday. As for the Warriors, they also face the Stags next Saturday.
Hougang United FC Head Coach Philippe Aw: “It was a deserved point. Had we taken zero today, we would have been very disappointed. We dominated the first half but conceded from their attacking set piece – that’s all they had. In the second half, we chased for the equaliser and hard work paid off in the end.
“We still need to work on our combination play in attack. Sometimes we rushed things and still want to force our way through instead of retaining possession. It’ll be difficult against Tampines on Wednesday as we only have two days’ rest but we have to try to get a result.”
Warriors FC Head Coach Mirko Grabovac: “We played good soccer and did lots of good things, but I cannot understand why we made the same mistake as the first game (1-1 vs Geylang International FC).
“We controlled the whole game and had all the set-pieces, but we could not score the second and got punished in the end. I also felt we should have two penalties – two clear penalties. But I’m happy with my young keeper (Mukundan), he saved us and was confident in the game. We have two points (from three games), but I expected more.”
Hougang United FC: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Gerald Ting (Fareez Farhan 60’), Illyas Lee, Adam Mitter, Faiz Salleh, Fabian Kwok (C), Syahiran Miswan, Nazrul Nazari, Muhaimin Suhaimi (Nurhilmi Jasni 83’), Antoine Viterale (Stanely Ng 12’), Iqbal Hussain
Warriors FC: Mukundan Maran (GK), Emmeric Ong, Ismadi Mukhtar, Kento Fukuda (C), Daniel Shafiq, Tajeli Salamat, Ammirul Emmran, Poh Yi Feng (Firdaus Kasman 88’), Ho Wai Loon, Suria Prakash (Fadhil Noh 65’), Sahil Suhaimi