Irfan stars in Home win
|HOUGANG UNITED||HOME UNITED|
Irfan Fandi proved his worth on both ends of the pitch yesterday, as Home United returned to the summit of the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League on goal difference.
The 19-year-old son of local football icon Fandi Ahmad was a colossus in the Protectors' backline, and also made a difference at the other end by breaking Hougang United's resistance in the 60th minute from a corner kick.
Former Hougang striker Stipe Plazibat sealed the win 12 minutes later when he stabbed the ball home from close range.
With Home goalkeeper Hassan Sunny out with a groin strain, the Protectors needed Irfan to put in a shift to preserve their clean sheet.
Aside from using his 1.86m frame to gobble up long balls pumped into the Home box, the teenager's most telling contribution in defence was when he hacked Fumiya Kogure's goalbound shot off the line in the 38th minute, when the score was still 0-0.
Home coach Aidil Sharin hailed the youngster's performance.
"A lot of people have asked why I play Irfan as a centre back, not as a striker," said Aidil.
"He proved with tonight's performance that he's the next Baihakki (Khaizan) or Aide Iskandar.
"It's good for the national team that a young player like him is playing regularly and gaining experience.
"But he needs to keep his feet on the ground and keep improving."
Irfan insisted he would not let the praise get to his head.
"It's nice to get words of encouragement," he said.
"But I know I have to work hard, listen to my seniors and take each game as it comes.
"I feel very comfortable in defence, and I'm starting to feel at ease there."