Protectors throw away two-goal lead as Hougang seal incredible comeback

Shahril Ishak and Shahfiq Ghani were the stars on the night as Hougang United sealed a sensational 3-3 comeback against Home United at Hougang Stadium.

Shahril Ishak netted for the fifth Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) game running, but Shahfiq Ghani stole the show with three assists as Hougang United FC came from two goals down to hold Home United FC 3-3 at Hougang Stadium on Wednesday night.

Home looked set to collect the three points after goals from Song Ui-young, Faritz Hameed and Shahril cancelled out Iqbal Hussain’s strike.

However Hougang produced a stunning fightback from two goals down late on to grab a point via goals from Adam Mitter and Faiz Salleh.

Eager to get their first win on board, Hougang started off the better side on the wet pitch and went close to scoring on a couple of occasions in the first five minutes.

Home – wearing their black away kit for the first time this season – quickly settled in though and should have broken the deadlock on 13 minutes. Shahril was put through on goal by Song, but his shot from a tight angle came off the right-hand post before bouncing to safety.

The Protectors threatened again two minutes later with Song denied in a one-on-one opportunity with Hougang goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid. Hougang almost hit them on the counter thereafter, but Nazrul Nazari saw his close-range shot superbly charged down by Home custodian Rudy Khairullah.

Home were denied again in the 20th minute with M.Anumanthan seeing his snapshot from just inside the area saved by Khairulhin.

HIGHLIGHTS: SPL – Hougang United 3-3 Home United

What a game at Hougang Stadium! Home United Football Club let slip a two-goal lead to allow Hougang United Football Club (HGFC) to snatch a point in their 3-3 Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League draw on Wednesday.

Posted by FOX SPORTS Asia on Wednesday, 2 May 2018


Aidil Sharin’s side would eventually open the scoring on 35 minutes. Shahril’s incisive inward pass picked out Song, who turned his marker well before firing home a sizzling shot into the bottom left corner from 18 yards out.

The visitors should have gotten a second two minutes later when Amiruldin Asraf looked set to convert in the midst of a goalmouth scramble, but Khairulhin pulled off a stunning reflex save to claw the ball away.

Home would eventually double their lead in the 40th minute after a Hougang defender was adjudged to have handled in the area. Shahril’s effort came off the woodwork, but Faritz was on hand to convert.

Hougang would produce a spirited response early in the second half and managed to pull one back on 57 minutes. Shahfiq’s lofted pass picked out Iqbal, who spotted Rudy off the line before netting via a fine lobbed finish.

Home, however, retook the lead on 65 minutes. Substitute Hafiz Nor made an impact just three minutes after coming on, with a perfectly-weighted cross from the right for Shahril to head home at the far post.

However, Hougang refused to back down and managed to level the scores with two quick goals.

Firstly on 74 minutes, Mitter leapt well at the near post to head home Shahfiq’s inswinging corner.

Four minutes later, Shahfiq was at it again with a superb backheel into the path of Faiz – who needed no second invitation to produce a thumping first-time finish past Khairulhin from 10 yards out.

Shahfiq had the opportunity to round off a superb showing three minutes from time, but his free kick from just outside the area flew wide of the mark.

Both sides eventually had to settle for a share of the spoils, which meant Home go up a place to fifth with seven points from five matches while Hougang remain second-from-bottom with three points from five.

Home will next face uniformed rivals Warriors FC at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturday evening, while win-less Hougang go away to face champions Albirex Niigata FC (S) at their Jurong East fortress a day later.

Hougang United FC Head Coach Philippe Aw: “It shouldn’t have been a penalty (for Home’s second goal); Song’s shot hit Illyas’ (Lee) stomach and it’s not his hand. But we said at half time let’s forget the ref’s decision and focus on the game. We kept going at 3-1 down and the boys displayed good fighting spirit to get a draw.

“I’m very happy for Shahfiq, he completed 80-plus minutes and got three assists. We all know he’s capable of that and I want him to keep going like this. He’s another one with brains like Shahril, who should be in the (Singapore) National Team. Next up for us is Albirex, who started the season on fire and dominated every game. But anything can happen in football and I believe we can go there and get a result to kick-start our season.”

Home United FC Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “It was a game which both teams played quite well and we didn’t finish a lot of chances in the first half. Hougang deserved a point in the end, but I thought my boys gave everything tonight.

“We have many games coming up, so at 3-1 perhaps their minds start to shut down and think about the next game. We thought they won’t come back so that’s where the boys need to learn that it’s not safe at 3-1 and nothing is over.

“But I’m happy with Song and Shahril. They’re gelling well like what Faris (Ramli) and Stipe (Plazibat) did last year. Fazli (Ayob) came in (to replaced the injured Shakir Hamzah) and did quite well in the second half too.”

Hougang United FC: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Gerald Ting (Ashrul Syafeeq 67’), Illyas Lee, Adam Mitter, Faiz Salleh, Nazrul Nazari, Syahiran Miswan, Fabian Kwok (C), Muhaimin Suhaimi (Fareez Farhan 65’), Shahfiq Ghani (Daniel Goh 89’), Iqbal Hussain

Home United FC:  Rudy Khairullah (GK), Shahrin Saberin, Juma’at Jantan, Faizal Roslan, Faritz Hameed, Izzdin Shafiq (C), M. Anumanthan (Aqhari Abdullah 72’), Shakir Hamzah (Fazli Ayob 48’), Amiruldin Asraf (Hafiz Nor 62’), Song Uiyoung, Shahril Ishak