Home's reserve custodian Rudy ready to step up
|HOME UNITED||HOUGANG UNITED|
Substitute goalkeepers are rarely called into action during a football match.
But Home United custodian Rudy Khairullah's ever-ready attitude paid off handsomely when he was summoned to replace first-choice Hassan Sunny late in the first half of last Friday's S.League match against Albirex Niigata.
Hassan collided with Albirex defender Naofumi Tanaka and broke his nose and dislocated his shoulder as a result, as both players were taken to Raffles Hospital at half-time.
But Rudy, making just his fourth S.League appearance this term, rose to the occasion to help his team secure a 2-0 win over the previously unbeaten league leaders.
Particularly impressive was the 22-year-old's instinctive one-on-one save off S.League joint top-scorer Tsubasa Sano in the second half, with Home holding a slender 1-0 lead.
"Even though I am a reserve, I come to every game ready to play in any situation," said Rudy, who attracted interest from Thai top-tier side Navy FC during pre-season, according to Home coach Aidil Sharin.
Rudy will be rewarded with a place in the starting 11 back at Jalan Besar on Friday against Hougang United, whom he had shut out in a 2-0 win in April.
Rudy said: "Hassan is a very important part of the team because of his presence and experience. So I can't take this opportunity to play for granted.
"I'm coming off a good game and looking forward to the game against Hougang."
With Hassan expected to be out for another two to three weeks - his return date will be clearer after his medical review on Saturday - Aidil believes Rudy is ready to step up as he targets a victory that would take the Protectors to within two points of the White Swans.
Said Aidil: "Rudy came in for Hassan last week and played really well.
"He handled the pressure and he commanded the back four (convincingly).
"It was a fantastic performance, but I believe he can do even better."