Global Cebu FC lost grip on a lead in the endgame as it settled for a 2-2 draw with Hougang United FC in the first leg of their semifinals tie in the 20th RHB Singapore Cup on Wednesday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the Lion City.
Darryl Roberts buried a brace to give the People’s Club a one-goal advantage but they conceded an equalizer to the Cheetahs five minutes before time as the two squads wound up in a stalemate.
Both sides churned out scoring chances in a tight affair at the onset but it was the crowd darling Hougang United that netted the opener in the 28th minute with a header from defender Delwinder Singh off a corner kick.
The visitors quickly equalized as Roberts controlled a through ball from Paolo Salenga then went for a clinical finish in the 33rd for a 1-1 deadlock at the break.
Trinidadian striker Roberts pounced on a loose ball to score off a rebound following a fine save by goalkeeper Khairulin Khalid, putting the Visayan powerhouse into the driver seat midway the second half.
Just as when it appeared that the Filipino club would walk away with the win, Fabian Kwok launched a shot from outside the penalty box to salvage a draw for the Singaporean side.
Global and Hougang are set to meet in their deciding second leg encounter on Saturday at the Hougang Stadium.
Meanwhile, Albirex Niigata Singapore FC mauled Home United FC, 3-1, in the first leg of the other semifinals pairing at the Jurong East Stadium.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA