Ikhsan and Young Lions keep Hougang rooted at bottom of SPL

Hougang United remain rooted to the bottom of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) table without a win, as Young Lions came from behind to defeat them 2-1 at Hougang Stadium on Saturday night.

Fabian Kwok put the Cheetahs up early in the second half, but Fandi Ahmad’s Young Lions rallied and managed to pick up the three points through goals from Ikhsan Fandi and Naufal Omar.

The result meant Hougang stayed bottom with just three points from eight games, while Young Lions went up a position to fifth with 10 points from six.

The Young Lions were largely on top in the first 45 minutes and won most of the 50-50 challenges, but could not make their dominance count.

Joshua Pereira had the first chance of the game on 11 minutes after dispossessing Syahiran Miswan, but his resulting 20-yard shot whistled past the post.

Hami Syahin then went close on the half-hour mark, with his swerving shot from the edge of the box superbly tipped over by Hougang goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid.

Hougang did enjoy a flurry of corners late into the first half, but found little joy against the towering centre-back pairing of Irfan Fandi and Adam Hakeem.

Whatever Hougang coach Philippe Aw said at half-time worked for the Cheetahs, as they took the lead for the first time this season four minutes into the second half on 49.

After skinning his marker on the left, Stanely Ng produced the perfect cutback from the byline for Kwok to slam home first-time albeit through a deflection that wrong-footed Young Lions custodian Zharfan Rohaizad.

However, the visitors took just nine minutes to restore parity. Pereira’s header from Hami’s cross was only parried by Khairulhin to the path of Ikhsan, who slammed home amongst a sea of players for his first-ever SPL goal.

Hougang then went almightily close to retaking the lead on 65 minutes, with Iqbal Hussain’s free kick from the edge of the box crashing off the left-hand post before going out of play.

Young Lions were, however, the more energetic side going into the dying stages of the game and managed to find a winner 11 minutes from time.

Teed up by Ikhsan, substitute Asshukrie Wahid produced a peach of a cross from the right for Naufal to meet with a downward header that flew past Khairulhin’s despairing dive.

The 20-year-old’s second goal in as many games ensured the visitors went home with the three points, despite Hougang’s aerial bombardment late on.

Young Lions will host Brunei DPMM FC next Wednesday, while Hougang will take a two-week break before facing Warriors FC away on Saturday, 2 June.

Hougang United FC: Khairulhin Khalid (GK),  Ashrul Syafeeq, Illyas Lee, Adam Mitter, Faiz Salleh (Shahfiq Ghani 84’), Syahiran Miswan, Fabian Kwok (C), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Stanely Ng (Nazrul Nazari 81’), Justin Hui (Fareez Farhan 68’), Iqbal Hussain

Young Lions:  Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), R. Aaravin (Aniq Iskandar 55’), Irfan Fandi (C), Adam Hakeem,Syahrul Sazali, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Joshua Pereira, Hami Syahin, Rusyaidi Salime (Asshukrie Wahid 55’), Ikhsan Fandi, Naufal Azman