RAMS AND BULLS SHARE SPOILS IN 1-1 DRAW
Woodlands Wellington 1 (Daniel Hammond 25’)
Gombak United 1 (Walid Lounis 22’)
In a Starhub League Cup Group D match played at the Woodlands Stadium last night, Woodlands and 10-men Gombak both settled for a point each in a 1-1 draw. Walid Lounis opened the scoring for the visitors in the 22nd minute but were pegged back almost immediately as Woodlands skipper Daniel Hammond equalised just three minutes later.
It was Woodlands who were having the better of chances in the opening exchanges but were denied by some superb goalkeeping from Gombak’s Zaiful Nizam.
In the 2nd minute, Neil Vanu cut in from the left but shot straight into the arms of Zaiful before Moon Soon Ho lashed a wild shot over the bar two minutes later. Zaiful then had to be alert to tip Moon’s fierce volley onto the bar before it was cleared to safety by Ismail Yunos in the 14th minute before the Korean fired a free kick which missed Zaiful’s right-hand post by inches minutes later.
Despite the chances they were creating, it was Gombak who took the lead, much against the run of play in the 22nd minute. After Woodlands failed to clear their lines from a left-wing cross, Lounis found himself unmarked on the edge of the six yard box as he poked the ball in past a stranded Ang Bang Heng.
That lead however, did not last long as Hammond fired home the equaliser four minutes later. Moon was tripped on the edge of the area but referee W Ravisanthiran waved play on. The ball then found the lurking Hammond and the defender curled home an accurate finish beyond the reach of a diving Zaiful to make it 1-1.
Woodlands continued to threaten and in the 32nd minute, Duncan Elias’ curling free-kick was tipped over the bar by the alert Zaiful yet again.
After the break, Iqbal Hussain could have put his side back into the lead but Ang Bang Heng was equal to his shot and kept it out with his palms. It was a superb team movement which involved Fairoz Hasan playing the ball out right to the overlapping Ismail who cut the ball back for Iqbal to take a shot.
In the 55th minute, Hussein Akil tried to go all by himself after picking up the ball in midfield but fired a low shot which beat Zaiful but not the post. Gombak substitute Jung Hee Bong then headed inches over the bar after he connected with Hafiz Rahim’s free kick.
Gombak were then reduced to ten men after Iqbal Hussain received his second bookable offence in the 72nd minute.
Moon and Armanizam came close to scoring the winner in the space of five minutes – in the 80th and 84th minute - but Moon’s effort came off the upright before Armanizam scuffed his shot after Oswind Suriya had done well to cut the ball back to him in front of goal.
Zaiful rescued the Bulls once more in the 88th minute as he somehow clawed Hammond’s goalbound header away to safety from a Duncan Elias free-kick.
Gombak coach K Balagumaran felt that the team did not execute his game plan well and he had to make an enforced change just before kickoff.
"We did not work according to our gameplan. Chris (Anderson) was not well at the last minute, and I was supposed to play him at right-back."
"I've been training with Chris at right-back and Ismail (Yunos) on the left. But Anderson was complaining of stomach upset and headache (before kickoff), so I didn't want to risk a substitute and hence I decided to field Nurullah (Hussein), who hasn't been training with us for the past week due to his exams."
On Iqbal Hussain who got sent off after receiving his second bookable offence in the second half, the former Tampines youth coach commented: "Iqbal did well. I thought he was dangerous and gave me some good runs (during the game)."
"I was just asking Chris to do his warm-up and then Iqbal got sent off," he added.
He heeded caution ahead of their final group game against Tampines this Thursday, saying that his side needs to be 'cautious' as Tampines are a strong side after watching them play Woodlands in their last game.
On the other hand, Woodlands' assistant coach Clement Teo felt that his players played according to instructions and was satisfying to say that.
"Oh yes, we are very happy. In terms of commitment, there's no faulting my players and they executed what we wanted. They gave their all."
"This has been what we were trying to achieve since Day 1. It makes the whole technical team at Woodlands very proud, especially during the fasting month," he reiterated his point on players’ commitment.
On his side's slim chances of qualifying for the next round, Teo said: "It's beyond our control, really. Tampines still have to play Gombak. But let's hope, and hope to qualify for the next round."
"We would love to make it for the next round but if Tampines were to rest players which we anticipate that they are going to, then it'll be hard. But the ball is round, anything can happen!"
He also felt that his side had sufficient chances to win the game, but just could not convert them.
Woodlands: Ang Bang Heng; Danny Chew, Duncan Elias, Daniel Hammond, Zulkarnain Malik; Goh Swee Swee (Armanizam Dolah 61’), Han Yi Guang, Aloysius Yap (Oswind Suriya 69’), Hussein Akil (Farizal Basri 82’); Moon Soon Ho, Neil Vanu
Unused subs: Ahmadulhaq Che Omar, Guntur Djafril, Dinie Fitri, Omar Ismail
Gombak: Zaiful Nizam; Nurullah Hussein, Obadin Aikhena (C), Walid Lounis, Ismail Yunos; Mustaqim Manzur (Jung Hee Bong 46’), Fairoz Hasan (Julien Durand 57’), Adrian Dhanaraj, K Vikraman; Hafiz Rahim (Chris Anderson 85’), Iqbal Hussain
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah, Fuad Jufri, Samuel Benjamin, Zulfadhli Emran
Yellow card(s): - (Woodlands); Iqbal Hussain (x2) (Gombak)
Red card(s): - (Woodlands); Iqbal Hussain (Gombak)
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