Protectors Back To Winning Ways
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Home United snapped their two-match losing streak in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League after a comfortable 4-0 victory over Garena Young Lions at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night.
Adam Swandi and Faris Ramli struck in the first half before one each from Irfan Fandi and Stipe Plazibat after the restart were enough to hand the Protectors their first win in three games.
With an eye on their crunch clash against Geylang International on Saturday night, Home coach Aidil Sharin rested the likes of top scorer Stipe Plazibat and Shamil Sharif with Amiruldin Asraf and Haziq Azman handed starting berths.
Still, it was the hosts who looked the dangerous of the two sides.
Iqram Rifqi and Faris came close in the 12th and 16th minute but their efforts failed to trouble Young Lions custodian Hairul Syirhan.
The next chance of note would come shortly after the half-hour mark but Adam’s low shot was saved by Hairul at the near post.
But two goals in the space of six minutes would then put the Protectors in the driving seat.
First, Adam finished powerfully past Hairul after latching onto Faris’ through pass on 34 minutes before Faris turned scorer by firing into the bottom corner from inside the box.
The second half was a stark contrast of the first however as both teams struggled to create clear openings.
But Irfan would make it 3-0 on 74 minutes when he stabbed home from close range after Hairul had inexplicably dropped Izzdin Shafiq’s cross inside the six yard box.
Vincent Subramaniam’s charges nearly pulled one back at the other end in the 83rd minute, but Hami Syahin failed to steer Rusyaidi Salime’s low cross past Home substitute goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah.
Plazibat would show the Young Lions how it is supposed to be done as the Croatian curled an accurate finish into the bottom corner from the edge of the box for his 36th goal across all competitions.
The result saw Home close the gap between them and second-placed Tampines Rovers to four points going into the final two games of the season while Young Lions remain in ninth with six points from 23 matches.
Home United Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “It was a hard decision to leave Stipe (Plazibat) out of the starting lineup today because he told me he wants to play. But with Geylang coming up, I wanted to keep him in the best condition where he’s fresh - that’s where he will be special.
“It’s not easy for the Young Lions coach especially when his team have lost so many games but credit to them for giving us a tough time. We tried to penetrate them but they defended very well for the first 25 minutes.
“Finishing in second place is not going to be easy with Tampines (Rovers) on form but we just have to win our remaining games and hope the other teams do us a favour.”
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Vincent Subramaniam: “The boys tried their best today and I cannot ask for too much from them. We held them for about 30 minutes before conceding that two goals. We came out for the second half not wanting to give up. We created chances but didn’t convert.
“I’m just glad no one got serious injuries, just a few knocks here and there. We now have our last match against (Brunei) DPMM on November 18 and it’s a little break for us.”
Home United: Hassan Sunny (GK, C) (Rudy Khairullah 70’), Aqhari Abdullah, Haziq Azman, Irfan Fandi, Juma'at Jantan (Stipe Plazibat 58’), Iqram Rifqi, M. Anumanthan, Izzdin Shafiq, Adam Swandi, Amiruldin Asraf, Faris Ramli (Marijan Suto 79’)
Garena Young Lions: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Illyas Lee (C), Faizal Roslan, Syahrul Sazali, Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Hami Syahin, Yeo Hai Ngee (Shameer Aziq 58’), Haiqal Pashia (Muhaimin Suhaimi 46’)