Warriors cruise past Harimau Muda; Hougang leave it late

Warriors FC scored thrice in the final ten minutes to claim a 3-0 win over nine-man Harimau Muda in Wednesday’s S.League clash at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

Having fallen to a 2-0 defeat to DPMM FC in their last outing back in February, Alex Weaver’s charges entered the game looking to get back to winning ways against a Harimau Muda side still looking for their first points of the campaign.

But despite a dominant display, it looked as though it was not going to be the Warriors’ day again after the woodwork came to the visitors’ rescue three times in the first half.

First, Irwan Shah whipped a corner into a sea of players in the 23rd minute that took a nick off a player and smashed into the bar, before Nicholas Velez was denied as well three minutes later after seeing a free header bounce back out.

Six minutes after the half-hour mark, it was Shi Jiayi’s turn to nod the ball back off the bar, and although Velez was on hand to head home the rebound, the strike was correctly ruled out for offside.

Harimau Muda keeper Ramdhan Hamid then did well in the 44th minute to ensure both sides went in level at the break; producing a flying save to keep out Hafiz Rahim’s blistering freekick.

The hosts continued to create the better opportunities in the second half but were still unable to find the breakthrough, until the 80th minute when Kevin McCann send a 25-yard rocket into the top corner after being teed up by Miroslav Pejic.

Five minutes later, Pejic netted one of his own after breaking free inside the box and emphatically blasting a left-footed shot past Ramdhan.

And injury-time, Harimau Muda’s evening went from bad to worse as Ramdhan conceded a penalty and was sent off after clattering into Hafiz while he was through on goal, while captain Ashmawi Yakin was also dismissed.

Having used all their substitutes, the visitors had no choice but to send midfielder Irfan Zakaria between the sticks but he was powerless to prevent Pejic from stroking home the resultant spot-kick, and wrapping up the three points for the hosts.

Over at the Hougang Stadium, Hougang United produced a stunning fightback to beat Albirex Niigata (S) 3-1.

Albirex had taken the lead after 15 minutes when Kazuki Sakamoto raced onto Keisuke Ota’s through-ball and fired home from a tight angle, but the hosts pulled level two minutes after the break; Diego Gama meeting an Azhar Sairudin freekick and sending a header into the back of the net.

Ten minutes from time, Gelson Moura put Hougang in front when his 20-yard effort sneaked into the bottom corner, before he wrapped things up in injury-time after pouncing on an error from opposition keeper Kazuki Kishigami and slotting into the unguarded net.

Warriors FC: Hassan Sunny, Jeremy Chiang, Daniel Bennett, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Irwan Shah, Thomas Beattie (Dharham Aziz 90’), Kevin McCann, Miroslav Pejic, Hafiz Rahim, Shi Jiayi (Hafsyar Farkhan 75’), Nicholas Velez (Nurhazwan Norasikin 75’).

Harimau Muda: Ramdhan Hamid, Ashmawi Yakin, Syawal Nordin (Naim Zakaria 77’), Akmal Chin, Azrul Nizam Muhammad, Nor Azam Azih, Irfan Zakaria, Ramzi Haziq, Afiq Fazail, Akhir Bahari (Shahrul Igwan 83’), Nurshamil Abdul Ghani (Syafwan Syahlan 73’).

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