Hougang United and Woodlands Wellington each had the better of one half as both sides spurned opportunities to eventually settle for a point each in a keenly-contested match
|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Teng Kiat
They huffed and puffed, but neither Woodlands Wellington nor Hougang United could breach the other’s goal as both sides played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in front of 3108 fans on Friday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Woodlands winger Taufiq Rahmat had the game’s first shot on target with a 25-yard effort in the 16th minute, but Hougang captain Fadhil Salim did well to parry the ball.
Both sets of defences were holding up firm, with the aware Shariff Samat foiling Hougang with a couple of neat interceptions while Syaqir Sulaiman was a similarly steady presence at the other end.
Rams star man Khalid Hamdaoui showed his class near the half-hour mark with a neat spin on the ball to get around Thomas Beattie, before making a no-look pass with his subsequent touch to appreciative cheers from the crowd.
An unmarked Chang Jo Yoon spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring as he volleyed wide from Ang Zhiwei’s cross at the near post, and the Rams were nearly made to pay instantly.
Liam Shotton glanced a cross wide straight down the other end, but Mamadou Diallo managed to retrieve the ball before it went out. The Guinean then appeared to be hauled down after bamboozling his marker, but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.
Woodlands skipper Goh Swee Swee curled a tame effort at Fadhil before Shotton had a header ruled out for offside, as the half wound down to a frenetic end.
The Rams were quicker off the blocks after the restart however, and went close on three occasions within ten minutes.
Taufiq missed a sitter after a superb set-piece routine and then Fadhil superbly tipped over a curling effort from Goh, before the same player headed Taufiq’s corner just wide of the far post.
The Cheetahs came back into the game as the half wore on but apart from a few crosses, they failed to seriously trouble Woodlands custodian Ahmadulhaq Che Omar.
Goh headed over at the far post with ten minutes remaining as Woodlands continued to push for a goal, which was nearly provided by substitute Armanizam Dolah moments later.
The midfielder caught the ball sweetly on the half-volley from 35 yards and the strike looked to be dipping in below the crossbar until Fadhil got his fingertips to push it over.
Chang had one last chance to win it in the dying seconds but the Korean volleyed inches wide of the top left after taking down Goh’s lofted pass superbly as both sides settled for a point each in the end.