Hougang United lifted their first major silverware in their club’s history after defeating Tampines Rovers 3-2 in their first-ever Singapore Cup final on Saturday night in front of 2,983 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

A day earlier on Friday, Albirex Niigata (S) saw off the challenge from Balestier Khalsa in the third-placing match, winning 3-2 at the Jalan Besar Stadium. The tournament champions Hougang received prize money of $50,000 from the Football Association of Singapore vice-president Teo Hock Seng. Runners-up Tampines received $30,000 while Albirex and Balestier received $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Croatian Kristijan Krajcek was pivotal for the team as he scored a hat-trick, while Taufik Suparno and Irfan Najeeb scored a goal each for Tampines. It was a delirious scene in the stands as the Cheetahs (Hougang’s nickname) supporters cheered non-stop for their favourite team until the final whistle.

The Workers’ Party member of parliament, Dennis Tan also took time from his busy schedule to record a video message for the Hougang United team and fans. Tan was at the Malarum Deepavali celebrations for residents with the other Aljunied GRC MPs.

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“First and foremost, I am at a loss for words. It has been a very tough season for everybody and we got our fair share of criticism. This club should exist to win trophies, and we have delivered; I have to give a lot of credit to the players,” said Hougang assistant coach Firdaus Kassim who took over from head coach Clement Teo as the latter took a rest due to health issues.

“Week after week after tough results, it would have been easy to just give up and look forward to next season, but they kept trying and kept believing. This is the product of patience and hard work. I am very delighted for the club and players – we deserve it.”