Advantage Home ahead of return clash
|PHNOM PENH CROWN||HOME UNITED|
|(Futa Nakamura 45+2, Keo Sokngon 84, Shane Booysen 90+4)||(Faris Ramli 34-pen, 35, Chiharu Kosuge 70-og, Izzdin Shafiq 86)|
Three times last night, Home United built up two-goal cushions, only to allow their opponents back into the game on each occasion.
While the Protectors did eventually leave the RSN Stadium in Phnom Penh with a 4-3 win over Phnom Penh Crown in their AFC Cup qualifying playoff, they will be kicking themselves for not being in a more comfortable position ahead of next Tuesday's return leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Lions winger Faris Ramli had helped Home to a 2-0 lead with a quickfire brace in the first half, slotting home a penalty he earned himself in the 34th minute before finishing coolly past the goalkeeper a minute later.
But, in first half stoppage time, the Protectors' backline allowed Crown's Japanese striker Futa Nakamura to pull one back with a header at the near post.
The S.League side managed to restore their two-goal lead in the 70th minute, when Crown's Japanese defender Chiharu Kosuge comically fluffed his clearance, with the ball bouncing off his standing foot and bobbling into his own net.
Home coach Aidil Sharin would have hoped his players could see out the match, but with just six minutes to go, the Cambodian side narrowed the deficit for the second time.
This time, substitute Keo Sokgnon was allowed time and space to fire a superb shot into the top corner from over 20 metres past Singapore No. 1 Hassan Sunny.
But Home responded two minutes later through Izzdin Shafiq, who somehow found himself completely unmarked in the middle of the box and made no mistake.
Crown did have some fight left, though, with South African striker Shane Booysen curling a terrific shot past Hassan deep into injury time, ensuring the Singapore side will have to work hard next week to make it to the competition proper.
Said Aidil: "A win is a win. We knew it would not be easy and I'm happy with my team's performance, but personally I believe we can play better when we play in Singapore."
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Izzdin Shafiq (Home)