The Bosnian striker struck twice in the closing stages to turn the tables on the Cheetahs and inspire the uniformed giants to only their third win of the season
|FROM CHOA CHU KANG STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
It was an emotional rollercoaster ride for the 836 fans at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Sunday night as they witnessed a six-goal thriller, with Warriors FC eventually coming away with a 4-2 victory over Hougang United.
The hosts took a one-goal lead into the half-time break but the Cheetahs came out with renewed energy in the second half, scoring two quick goals in succession.
Hougang’s bench was livid towards the end as the Warriors were awarded a penalty, which was duly converted by Mislav Karoglan to level the scores. The striker then put his side ahead before substitute Erwan Gunawan scored a beauty in the dying seconds to condemn the Cheetahs to their fifth loss of the season.
The visitors had themselves to blame for conceding early on in the game when Tatsuro Inui’s cross was not dealt with properly by Syaqir Sulaiman. Sufian Anuar redirected the ball towards Shi Jiayi, who made no mistake from six yards out to give V. Selvaraj's team a perfect start to the game.
The second half saw Hougang caretaker coach Johana Johari replace Liam Shotton with Jeremy Chiang, who slotted in at right-back, and shift Fairoz Hasan, who was playing in defence in the first half, to a more attacking role.
The tactical changes worked wonders as the Cheetahs left the Warriors bewildered with two rapid goals in the space of two minutes.
Mamadou Diallo leveled the game nine minutes after the restart, heading home a Fazli Jaffar cross while Azhar Sairudin blasted the ball into the back of the net two minutes later to spark wild celebrations from the Hougang bench and their fans.
But the game was far from over, as the Warriors were given a lifeline in the 79th minute when referee Jansen Foo pointed to the penalty spot after Syaqir handled the ball in the penalty box. Karoglan duly stepped up to make it 2-2.
There would be time for two more goals, as Karoglan added his second of the night a minute before the end of regulation time to put his side ahead.
Then in the fourth minute of added time, Erwan sent the ball into Fadhil Salim’s top right hand corner from an acute angle to round off the comeback and secure the Warriors' second home win of the season.
Hougang will next host Harimau Muda at the Hougang Stadium on April 26, while Warriors will be continuing their AFC Cup journey, taking on Indonesia side Semen Padang at the Jalan Besar Stadium on April 24.