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Pre-match Warmups: 3 things we should know about Hougang United vs Haiphong FC @JBS

Submitted by: Isaac Yeung Edited: Confaderal | 1st October 2023




It's been a terrible few weeks already. After some horrendous refereeing decisions in the recent Hougang vs Tanjong Pagar match, Haiphong will be licking their lips to pile on the misery.


For context, with the score tied at 1-1 in the 83rd minute, the Tanjong Pagar goalkeeper, Kenji, clattered onto an onrushing Hazzuwan Halim in the penalty area. It was the same type of challenge which earned Kenji a red card a week earlier against DPMM. This time, Kenji got away scot-free. Hougang only got a corner.




The referee was urged to view the VAR for that incident but there was no VAR feed. The ref was left staring at the darkness of the VAR screen for a good few minutes. Staring at his own face through the blank screen must've afforded him some solace as he let his mind wander through the stars to ponder on the meaning of life. He eventually awoke from his daydream, went to the players and told them: "VAR not working, therefore, no penalty!".




Technical issues aside, FAS might argue that the ball was "touched" by Kenji before he collided into Hazzuwan's ribs. I'd argue there's no touch, and EVEN IF THERE is, the follow-through would've warranted a foul. Anywhere else on the pitch a foul is given, we don't see why there's none here. But anyways, all this is a discussion for another day.


The point here is that, for whatever reason, the refereeing decisions didn't seem to go our way in that match. This Haiphong game will not be an exception and our players need to prepare for this. Hopefully our boys will be on their good behaviour and butter-up the ref before the match. Here are three things we should know about Haiphong FC to give Hougang a chance at winning.



Haiphong's performance in the domestic league

In the upcoming match on 5 October, the mighty Hougang will face off against Vietnam's Haiphong FC. Hougang United vs Haiphong FC. The Cheetahs will be looking to recover from their recent poor form as they brace themselves for a tough encounter.


Haiphong finished sixth in the V. League 1, a significant drop from their second-place finish in 2022. The loss of key players to other Vietnamese clubs has impacted their performance. Nonetheless, Haiphong remains a formidable opponent for Hougang, particularly given the latter's current struggles.


Some of the foreign contingent they've lost includes Rimario Gordon and Moses Oloya. Both of them have moved to Binh Duong FC. That being said, they have good siginings this season which include Bicou Bissainthe from the Canadian Premier League as well as getting back Duc Anh Nguyen Nhu from FC Kray in Germany's fifth tier competition.



Muting the sound of Yuri Mamute

With experience in the J League and having played for Brazilian giants Gremio and Botafogo, Yuri Mamute poses a significant threat. He's also made appearances for Panathinaikos of Greece.


Since joining mid-season, he has already scored five goals in eight appearances across all competitions, establishing himself as a dangerous player. Alongside his goals, Yuri has also provided an assist, racking up 6 goal/assist contributions. Yuri is the definition of a complete forward, standing at 1.80m, he is able to easily convert chances if given to him in a perfect manner. Think of him like a better Boris Kopitovic, but with the Samba flair. Haiphong will be looking to play the final ball to Yuri, considering they typically employ a lone striker.


Hougang will have to create more chances of their own...and put it in the back of the net. If anything, the Tanjong Pagar game has shown that despite us getting 8 shots on target, only one was converted. With the long range prowess of Kiki, Zulfahmi and Shahdan, let's hope that there will be more shots peppered from distance.



Other players to watch out for

Haiphong typically employs a compact 4-1-4-1 formation. With a reliable lone striker in tow, that explains their style of play.


Haiphong's style of play revolves around their wingers, who possess pace and the ability to create chances. One to watch out for is Viet Hung Trieu, the team's top assist provider. Trieu's speed and agility, despite his modest height of 1.70m, can cause trouble for Hougang's defense, particularly Nazrul Nazari and an already stagnant backline.


The Haiphong backline features the towering presence of Ben Van Meurs (pictured above), who previously played for Hong Kong Premier League club Tai Po FC. Measuring 1.87m, Van Meurs could provide a challenge for Dordje Makismovic, utilizing his height advantage.


So what can Hougang do?

Just like when Dr Strange peers through the countless possibilities to defeat Thanos, Hougang find their situation eerily similar.


Lots of things need to go right for this match: concentration, stamina and a clear mind. Haiphong move the ball really fast especially cycling the ball from side to side as their natural output is to cross the ball in the box for their foreign players to attack.


In the match against PSM Makassar, two goals were conceded from the flanks: A low-cross which was tapped-in for an own goal, and a cutback from the byline to the middle for a shot.


Another outlet of attack for Haiphong is their box-to-box defensive midfielder who will position himself outside of the opponents box for any stray balls. If the opportunity presents itself, Bicou Bissainthe will have a shot from distance. Based on the PSM Makassar game, the player forced countless of on-target shots from these types of situations. Hougang need to do well to counter these situations: from the flanks and from long-range shots. Failure to do so, will see us lose like how PSM did.


But as with all hardships come opportunities. With alot of their players joining in attacks, gaps will surely happen. Let's hope our boys exploit these.



Ending thoughts

Hougang enters this game following an unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Tanjong Pagar in the Singapore Cup, with the help of the Virtual Assistant Referee. However, match fitness may be a concern for Haiphong, given the 14-day gap since their last match against PSM. Hougang may aim to capitalize on this by starting the game with a high tempo.


In terms of form, Haiphong holds the advantage, having secured a victory against PSM. Notably, they put up a strong fight against Incheon United, taking the match to extra time before succumbing to a physically superior Korean side. This demonstrates Haiphong's stamina and resilience, as they managed to extend two consecutive games to extra time, including their away victory over Hong Kong Rangers in Mong Kok.


On the other hand, Hougang is currently enduring a five-game winless streak, with their most recent defeats being a 3-1 loss to Sabah and a VAR-aided defeat to Tanjong Pagar. The upcoming clash against Haiphong will pose a significant challenge for the Cheetahs as they strive to regain confidence and form. Haiphong's recent performances indicate their ruthless approach and intention to exploit Hougang's fatigue.


Caption: Our boys away at Likas Stadium in Sabah on a cold rainy night. Away from the rat race in SG.


Caption: 21st September in Likas Stadium. Our boys lost to Sabah fc 3-1.



 

Haiphong FC Quick Report:


- 4-1-4-1 formation preferred


- Dangermen: Yuri Mamute, Ben Van Meurs, Viet Hung Trieu, Joseph Mpande, Bicou Bissainthe


- Bicou has looked dangerous shooting from outside the box adding to their shots-on-goal percentage.



— Tune in to post-match results in our "Upcoming" section of the website after the matchday.



How many percent for Hougang to win this match?

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Will you be coming to this match at Jalan Besar?

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