Tanjong Pagar United put their S.League troubles behind them on Monday as they booked their place in the Singapore Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Hougang United.
In a keenly-contested clash at the Queenstown Stadium, many had expected the Cheetahs to come away with the victory given their opponents were missing a host of key players, including captain Hafiz Osman, French defender Anthony Aymard and winger Asraf Rashid.
Hougang did have an excellent chance to break the deadlock in the 20th minute when Fairoz Hasan met Azhar Sairudin’s cross with a header that flashed inches wide, before the hosts wasted a chance of their own just before halftime when Kamel Ramdani fired wide in a one-on-one situation with Fadhil Salim.
The visitors continued to create the better chances but were unable to find a way past Aurelien Herisson, who used his legs to keep out a shot from Diego Gama in the 59th minute and made another fine save four minutes later to deny Fairoz.
And 14 minutes from time, Tanjong Pagar went on to claim a place in the last-eight when Firdaus Idros latched on Ramdani’s diagonal ball and swung a cross into the box, where Monsef Zerka proceeded to meet it with a diving header into the bottom corner.
Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson, Ahmad Latiff, Tengku Mushadad, Zahid Ahmad, Hanafi Salleh, Kamel Ramdani, Sazali Salleh, Firdaus Idros, Sebastien Etiemble, Ruzaini Zainal, Monsef Zerka.
Hougang United: Fadhil Salim, Faizal Amir (Durica Zuparic 88’), Igor Cerina, Firman Hanif, Wahyudi Wahid, Erwan Gunawan (Geison Moura 65’), Shunsuke Nakatake, Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar, Fairoz Hasan, Diego Gama.