Home one win away from knock-out stage
|HOME UNITED||YADANARBON FC|
They went all the way to the semi-finals of the AFC Cup in 2004, only to be beaten by eventual champions Al Jaish of Syria.
Home United's run in the continental competition is still the best performance by an S.League club, and now, the Protectors find themselves 90 minutes away from the zonal semi-finals in the new format of the competition.
A win tonight over Myanmar's Yadanarbon in their AFC Cup Group H match at the Jalan Besar Stadium will see Home go into the Asean semi-finals, with five more ties ahead of them before they can reach the grand final.
And Protectors coach Aidil Sharin is banking on his red-hot striker Stipe Plazibat to fire his side into the knock-out stages.
Plazibat has scored a remarkable 14 goals in nine games across all competitions this season, with the Croat's four goals in the AFC Cup making him the second-highest scorer in the competition.
Speaking after Home's training session yesterday, Aidil told The New Paper he believes there is more to come from his frontman.
"Stipe has been doing well but, when we look at the replays of previous games, he is able to score more than that," said the coach.
"He has been adjusting well. I am expecting more from him because, as a foreign striker, he needs to be clinical inside the box."
But Aidil is wary of the threat Yadanarbon pose.
After all, the Myanmarese side beat Home 1-0 in the reverse fixture in Mandalay, on Feb 22. Another triumph tonight will see Yadanarbon leapfrog Home to become Group H leaders.
Indeed, Aidil pointed out Yadanarbon's wonderkid Aung Thu, Cameroonian defender Biassi Nyakwe William, and captain Yan Paing as threats to his side.
"They are strong, fast, and quick on their feet," he said.
"I think these three players make the core of Yadanarbon."