|FROM CHOA CHU KANG STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
Warriors FC came away with maximum points from their game against Hougang United after edging them 4-2 at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Sunday night, thanks in part to a penalty awarded in the final quarter of the match.
It was a match in which the identity of a winner looked uncertain until minutes from the end, as the Warriors had surrendered a one-goal lead in the second half before they reorganized and took control of the match, and secured victory courtesy of late goals from Mislav Karoglan and Erwan Gunawan.
Although coach V. Selvaraj was pleased with the win, the Warriors coach hopes that his defenders will learn to stop conceding soft goals and give away the ball cheaply.
“This is one area which we really need to look at as not only in this game have we been conceding goals in a short period of time; [it was at] about the 55th and 56th minutes that they scored two goals," he remarked.
“We have to learn and move on from here and look at the way we have been conceding goals. It’s not that we can’t defend but we need to keep things simple at the back and when we sort this out, we will be better."
Despite being a goal down at at the early part of the second half, Selvaraj maintained that at that point of time, he still believed that his side was capable of turning things around.
“I kept reminding them that even though we are a goal down, chances will still come and that’s what I have been telling them from the touchline," he said.
“We have been creating chances in both halves and it will be a big waste if we don’t come away with anything from this game, and it could have easily been another five or six goals for us.”
Despite registering their fifth loss of the season, Cheetahs caretaker coach Johana Johari was in no mood to criticize his players, instead praising their efforts.
“The second half performance was much better and we were able to keep the ball and you know Hougang is a team that is good in possession and the locals are fantastic as they are able to hold the midfield well," he pointed out.
“You can also see how the locals [players] pressed the opponents to get the second goal and that shows the kind of tenacity they have and the willingness to work.”
While Johana felt that his team was hard done by the penalty awarded against his team, he was not about to condemnreferee Jansen Foo.
“If I keep on blaming the referee it doesn’t make sense at all," he explained.
"It’s a bad day for us and in the first half, the opponents were throwing high balls and that makes it difficult for us.
“Every one of us makes mistakes and today is the day we fell into this situation.”