Cheetahs Look To Build On Good Form
Hougang United vs Geylang International
(18 August, Friday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Hougang United will turn their attention back to the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League as they host Geylang International at Hougang Stadium on Friday night.
The Cheetahs come into this after booking a place in the last four of the RHB Singapore Cup 2017 with an aggregate 8-1 win over Cambodian outfit Nagaworld FC in the two-legged Quarter-Final tie.
Defender Wahyudi Wahid has stressed the need for Hougang to get all three points as they look to leapfrog Geylang who are a spot above them in fifth on 21 points after 15 games played.
“Confidence (in the team) is high at the moment,” the 28-year-old enthused. “Everyone is fully fit and raring to go for our upcoming matches.
“It’s very important to get three points especially when Geylang are just a point ahead of us. But we are all mentally prepared after the Singapore Cup win and we are looking forward to the game on Friday.
“No matter who the coach puts in for this game, everyone is ready which is a good thing; it doesn’t matter whether you’re in the starting XI or on the bench.”
Head coach Philippe Aw has however urged caution even as his team are on a good run of form at the moment.
“It’s definitely pleasing to score so many (against Nagaworld) which is good for the team but it’s going to be a different game against Geylang,” he warned.
“It’s not going to be so easy. After a change of coaches, Geylang have done reasonably well so far and we must be ready for that.
“We can’t think that after we’ve beaten Nagaworld, we are on top of the world. If we think that way, we may just get a sucker punch again and get hit which may see us lose that winning momentum."
Having been out of the game for a year after rupturing his ligaments against the same opponents in a The New Paper League Cup encounter, Wahyudi is eager to make up for lost time.
The versatile player, who can also play as a striker, recently returned to first-team action in their narrow 1-0 defeat to Warriors FC earlier this month.
“What was on my mind during that period where I was out was just to recover, I didn’t want to rush it,” Wahyudi shared. “I wanted to take my time to get better and come back stronger, which is where I am now.
“I was a little nervous before the game against Warriors because it was at Jalan Besar Stadium where I got that injury so there was that fear within me. But I put that aside and focused on playing football. I’m just thankful nothing happened that day.
“Personally, I would like to see the team reach the Final of the Singapore Cup because we are some way off the top three. But we will still try our best to finish as high as possible.”
Geylang meanwhile will play their first competitive fixture in almost two weeks with their last coming in a heavy 5-0 defeat at the hands of leaders Albirex Niigata (S).
They will thus look to return to winning ways in the S.League but will have to make do without the services of former Garena Young Lions duo Safirul Sulaiman and Al-Qaasimy Rahman who are both suspended.
Suspensions: Nazrul Nazari (Hougang United); Safirul Sulaiman, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (both Geylang International)
Hougang United - DDLWW
14/08/17 Nagaworld FC 0-4 Hougang United (RHB Singapore Cup)
11/08/17 Hougang United 4-1 Nagaworld FC (RHB Singapore Cup)
04/08/17 Hougang United 0-1 Warriors FC
29/07/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Hougang United
13/07/17 Hougang United 2-2 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)
Geylang International - WDLWL
05/08/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 5-0 Geylang International
24/07/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Geylang International
18/07/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)
14/07/17 Brunei DPMM 3-3 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)
11/07/17 Tampines Rovers 1-4 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)
Head to Head (S.League)
20/05/17 Geylang International 1-1 Hougang United
27/02/17 Hougang United 2-0 Geylang International
20/10/16 Hougang United 0-1 Geylang International
18/06/16 Geylang International 1-2 Hougang United
07/04/16 Hougang United 3-1 Geylang International