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  • July 4, 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Queenstown Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: M. Taqi

Inspired Herisson on guard as Jaguars hang on to see off Cheetahs

Inspired Herisson on guard as Jaguars hang on to see off Cheetahs

Muhammad Farhan

Despite being bombarded by their very offensive opponents, the hosts held on to a narrow first-half lead to take all three points thanks to Monsef Zerka's goal

Tanjong Pagar United came into the Queenstown Stadium needing a win to put a stamp on their title chase against Hougang United and they did exactly that.

With Aurelien Herisson a literal wall in between the posts, Monsef Zerka’s solitary strike in the first half was enough to see off the Cheetahs.

Coming in as underdogs in this tie, the visitors were surprisingly attacking off the bat with the Jaguars having to sit back and defend.

Within the first minute, Fazli Jaffar broke free on the left to cross. His pass was poorly cleared into the path of Azhar Sairudin whose shot from outside the penalty box forced a save from Herisson.

The Cheetahs pressed for the opening goal and almost scored after Walid Lounis used his thigh to send a ball back to his goalkeeper. Jerome Baker chased down the loose ball but Herisson smothered it before he could get there, as the home side thanked their lucky stars that the referee didn’t blow for a back-pass infringement.

Against the run of play though, Tanjong Pagar broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute through Zerka. He latched on to a through pass from Ismael Benahmed on the right and poked it home from a tight angle despite being challenged by Hougang skipper Lau Meng Meng.

The tides were then turned after the goal as the Jaguars looked to have pulled out their claws.

Five minutes after the first goal, the home side had two opportunities blocked by Hougang custodian Fadhil Salim, who did well to parry away Benahmed’s shot before turning away a header from Asraf Rashid.

Hougang then had a couple of flashes at goal but were only denied by poor finishing.

As the seconds counted down to the end of the first period, Mamadou Diallo's mishit shot rolled past the right post.

The second half started similarly to the first with Hougang pressing on for a goal from the get-go.

Three minutes in, Nurhilmi Jasni linked well with Fazli to pull off a shot just inside the box but again, Herisson was there to save.

Centre-half Syaqir Sulaiman joined in the Cheetahs' surge upfront with a steaming run through the middle, beating defenders with ease but his resulting shot from close range was unfortunately inches wide.

After much domination from the visitors, the Jaguars had a chance to score in the 69th minute. Much like the first goal, Asraf put Zerka through on the left-hand side. However before the Moroccan could shoot, Faizal Amir tracked back in time to slide the ball clear of danger.

Four minutes later, Benahmed lashed a volley after a poor clearance by Lau but his effort was way off target.

It was all Hougang in the closing minutes of the game with Shahir Hamzah going the closest in the 89th minute as he slammed his shot over the bar.

Herisson then single-handedly defied the Hougang barrage as the Jaguars claimed all three points with the 1-0 scoreline.