With each back-up goalkeepers doing their greatest to impress, it appeared like Hougang United and Tanjong Pagar would produce the primary goal-less attract 34 video games this Singapore Premier League (SPL) season.
However, each objectives on the Hougang Stadium have been ultimately breached within the dying minutes on Saturday (May 14) as they performed out a 1-1 draw. It was nearly a repeat of the final time the 2 groups met in March, after they performed out a 2-2 draw with all of the objectives additionally coming within the final 20 minutes.
After the lightning warning system was activated and the kick-off delayed for 90 minutes, it was a scrappy first half through which possibilities have been at a premium.
Both groups got here to life within the second half, however their back-up goalkeepers shone.
Tanjong Pagar custodian Fashah Iskandar began as Zharfan Rohaizad is recovering from Covid-19, and pulled off a giant save from Shahril Ishak within the 52nd minute.
The 27-year-old then denied Kristijan Krajcek within the 77th minute, earlier than producing a extra spectacular cease 4 minutes later when he dived to his left to disclaim the Croatian from shut vary.
At the opposite finish, Hougang goalie Mukundan Maran, who’s taking part in as Ridhuan Barudin is out with an sickness, additionally got here up with a blinding save from point-blank vary to forestall Faritz Hameed from giving the Jaguars a 58th-minute lead.
However, the 26-year-old was powerless to cease the guests who hit on the break within the ninetieth minute. Rusyaidi Salime gained the ball after colliding in opposition to Hafiz Sujad and arrange Reo Nishiguchi to blast in what appeared to be the deciding purpose.
But the hosts saved making an attempt, and have been rewarded within the fifth minute of added time as Pedro Bortoluzo popped up on the far publish to nod in Kristijan Krajcek’s free kick.
Jaguars coach Hasrin Jailani stated: “We knew Hougang have been scoring late objectives, so we should always have stayed centered in added time and defended higher, particularly in set items.
“Credit to Fashah, who played a very good first match for us. We know he is a reliable cover for Zharfan, and we are happy with his performance.”
The draw retains Tanjong Pagar in fourth place with 13 factors from 9 matches, as Hougang stay sixth with 9 factors.
While praising Fashah, Cheetahs coach Clement Teo was additionally happy with how Maran and his staff carried out, as they salvaged some extent.
He stated: “We love Mukun’s dedication and dealing with, and he’ll get higher with extra video games.
“In entrance of him, we replicated what we did in coaching – attacking from the edges, placing in crosses, and making good runs, however sadly, the ball simply did not go in for us earlier than our opponents scored.
“But even after conceding, our players pushed non-stop and the spirit is good for us moving forward.”
In the evening’s different match, defending champions Lion City Sailors restored their six-point lead on the prime of the eight-team desk as they edged out Geylang International 1-0 at Jalan Besar because of Diego Lopes’ first-half strike.
As Hougang proceed to seek for that elusive clear sheet – they’ve conceded in all 9 video games this season – the hole is widening between them and the highest three. They are actually six factors behind third-placed Tampines Rovers, who’ve a sport in hand.
They generally tend to concede greater than they rating when the attackers are on type, but fail to attain sufficient after they put in an excellent defensive shift. The outcome: Dropping pointless factors in opposition to middling groups like they did on Saturday.
Coach Clement Teo has not been in a position to deploy the identical centre-back mixture in consecutive video games this season, and can hope that Fabian Kwok dropping again into defence will assist present some stability, as his strikers begin scoring.