Thursday, March 03, 2011
Hougang United v Home United 0-5
Referees seem to have gone card crazy in the SLeague this season. A whopping 12 yellows and one red were issued at Gombak United a couple of nights ago while last night there were nine yellow and one red. One guy even got a yellow for trying to take a corner outside the white lines; something that I've been seeing more and more frequently over the last couple of years.
But this was no dirty game and the ref, despite his intentions, was not man of the match.
Firdaus Kasman opened the scoring for the visitors with a long range speculative effort that caught the Hougang keeper, Fadhil Salim, by surprise but despite a red for the home team's Ratna Suffian, Home were unable to trouble the home team beyond pumping high balls into the box for new signing Frederic Mendy.
Hougang weren't just idle spectators. They had possession and did ask one or two questions of the team from Bishan who have totle aspirations but too often the final pass was found wanting. Or, as the second half wore on, there was no final pass.
Second half Home United were masterful. Every attack promised a goal. Qiu Li was back to his best after a lengthy time with injury while Mendy was always a keen outlet.
The second goal was an og from Azhar Sairudan after Hougang played pinball with a corner kick rather than put the bloody ball into the street outside. Firdaus Idros made it 3-0 eight minutes after coming on as a sub when Salim flapped at a corner, Qiu Li was allowed to run at the defence before finishing smartly from about 18 yards and there was still time for Asraf Rashid, another sub, to make it five right at the death.
In football commentator parlance it was a game that had everything including an atmosphere as both sets of fans tried to get behind their team.
Not for the first time in Singapore I am left feeling more than a tad bemused. All you ever read about in the media is the poor quality in the local league that that is bollocks and this game is further proof that that is bollocks.
Put it this way. Had this been Chelsea v Manchester United then the EPL obssessed local media would have been creaming themselves with thoughts and analysis from people in both UK and Singapore while in coffee shops the length and breadth of the island fans would have been discussing the game for weeks to come.
Home were imperious going forward. Qiu Li and Mendy with Kim Dae Eui prompting showed they are going to be a menace to most teams this season. Hougang? They lack the funds of the islands bigger teams but with a keen support egging them on they are going to perform better and ask teams questions.