Diallo strike denies Warriors victory

Hougang fought back from being a goal down to score an equaliser seven minutes from time, denying the Warriors all three points at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Wednesday evening
Warriors FC and Hougang United both gained a deserving point after scoring a goal each to end Wednesday’s evening game on level terms.

Despite grabbing the lead through Mislav Karoglan in the 48th minute, Warriors FC were denied the full three points as Mamadou Diallo threw his body at goal to force an equaliser seven minutes from time.

It was entertaining football on display, as both sides went for the kill right from the go.

Warriors' talismanic striker Karoglan forced Fadhil Salim into a save in the 9th minute following good work by Shimpei Sakurada to wriggle his way past his marker and cutting the ball back for Karoglan.

But it was Hougang who was closest to open the scoring within the first-half with Fairoz Hasan rifling a lay-off by Diallo onto the crossbar in the 25th minute.

Warriors then had to thank Hassan Sunny for a superb double-save just before the break. Diallo’s free-kick hit the wall and caught the goalkeeper by surprise, but Hassan reacted to keep out the effort, before following up to deny Thomas Beattie from point-blank range.

However, the Warriors assumed the lead just after the break when Karoglan was allowed to rise unmarked and head the ball home following a good cross from Shi Jiayi.

Hougang could have had an equaliser in the 68th minute but Diallo’s header produced an acrobatic catch from Hassan.

There was some controversy in the 81st minute when Kazuyuki Toda decided to play on even though he had a team-mate, Erwan Gunawan, down on the pitch with the Hougang’s backline stranded after expecting the Japanese to play the ball out.

But having seen Erwan get up, Toda decided to play to the whistle and broke away from the backline before cutting it back to Karoglan from the byline, but the striker sportingly chose to put the ball out of play when he was unmarked and seven yards out from goal.

Fadhil Salim and Igor Cerina then got themselves involved in a scuffle with Toda, as they believed the former Japanese international should not have played on. Their actions were quickly mediated by referee Farhad Mohd who cautioned all three players.

Karoglan’s sporting behaviour might have cost Warriors FC the three points as Diallo found the equaliser two minutes later.

Although the Warriors raised claims of a handball over Diallo's strike, the goal stood and allowed Hougang to share the spoils.