Women's ● Mar 19, 2007

Women’s Challenge Cup – Bishan Arsenal defeat Arion to make Final


Women’s Challenge Cup 2007 Semi-Finals

Bishan Arsenal FC Arion Women’s 1
Jurong Town Stadium
17 March 2007, 7pm


Two top form sides. Two 100% records. Something had to give and it was Bishan Arsenal FC ‘A’ who came away with a deserved 3-1 win and progressed to the Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Jalan Besar on Sunday 25th March.


Bishan made only one change from the team that emphatically beat Young Women 4-1 last weekend. Nurafny Yulianti was dropped to the bench with Norhayati Hamir brought into the starting line-up.


Meanwhile, their opponents replaced absent top scorer Bianca Strasser with Evelyn Tan. Whilst that was a blow to Arion’s chances, they were however boosted by the return of Singapore International Li Jing to marshal the defence.


It was a quiet first 15 minutes with both teams keeping things tight at the back and not giving the early advantage to their opponents. Once they had both sussed each other out, the game opened up. Bishan were the first to break through the defence but were met with strong resistance from goalkeeper Tan Eng Chiu who pulled off a good double save at the edge of her box from Bishan’s Charmaine Pelaez.


Bishan Arsenal continued to push forward in rather gung-ho fashion and were subsequently punished. On the half-hour mark, a quick counter-attack from Arion left Bishan exposed at the back and when put through, Yang Xiao Wen delightfully lifted the ball over the onrushing Norhayati Hamir to break the deadlock.


This was short lived, however, as only three minutes later, Bishan Arsenal were awarded with what appeared to be a rather fortunate free kick on the edge of the box with only referee Adzhar Adziz clear on why it was awarded. The wall blocked Huraizah Ismail’s initial free kick but it fell back kindly for her and she had time to drill the ball low into the bottom right corner under the outstretched arms of Tan Eng Chiu.


The game continued at a frantic pace with both sides creating good chances only to see them let down by poor finishing or solid goalkeeping. Then with five minutes remaining until half-time, Bishan Arsenal were awarded a corner. As the ball was whipped in from the right, Bishan made the most of their superior height and captain Doceline Theolore Ndjouanang leapt up on the edge of the six-yard box and buried her header past the helpless Tan.


Despite the obvious disappointment, Arion kept their heads up and almost snatched an equaliser when Evelyn Tan was put through on goal. Unfortunately for her, Norhayati had read the situation well and was able to get in a challenge just as Tan was lining up her shot and the ball was scrambled clear.


If anyone was expecting a similar start to the second half to that seen at the beginning of the first half, then they were in for a surprise as the game picked up where it had left off 15 minutes earlier.


It was clear the next goal was going to be decisive and unfortunately for the neutrals in the stand, it was Bishan who snatched it in the 49th minute. Huraizah Ismail broke down the left and saw her miss-hit cross loop over the stranded Tan into the back of the net.


Bishan’s fortunate third clearly knocked Arion and Bishan began to exert their authority over the game. Chances were few and far between with the impressive duo of Huraizah Ismail and Doceline Theolore Ndjouanang dominating the midfield and defence respectively.


The only remaining notable piece of action saw Lim Shiya’s free kick from the side of the box cause a momentary lapse in concentration in the Bishan defence. But after a game of pinball inside the six-yard box, the ball was hacked clear.


The high tempo earlier on in the game began to take its toll as players from both sides went down with cramp. The game subsequently slowed down until the final whistle was blown.


So it was Bishan Arsenal who marched on into the final and they will meet the equally impressive United World College who despatched Police FC on penalties in another exciting game at Clementi Stadium.


It will be a tough game for the young expatriate students who will be coming up against an experienced, well-balanced side in Bishan Arsenal.


Their strong spine of Ndjouanang, Huraizah and Pelaez proved too much for Arion and UWC will need to do their homework on how to stop Bishan running away with the game.

The United World College girls (in red) defeated Police FC on penalties and marched themselves into the Final.


Bishan are not unbeatable however and those watching next week will be hoping for a cracking game to finish off the 2007 Women’s Challenge Cup.


Full Results:

Matches Played on 17th March 2007

Match 27 – Bishan Arsenal FC ‘A’ 3 vs Arion Women’s FC 1
Match 28 – Police FC 2 vs United World College 2 (PK: 2-4)

Match Scheduled on 25 March 2007:

Match 29 – Bishan Arsenal FC vs United World College
Jalan Besar Stadium, 5pm