Hassan's injury mars Home's superb win
Goalkeeper suffers broken nose and dislocated shoulder after nasty clash with Albirex defender
|ALBIREX NIIGATA||HOME UNITED|
|Stipe Plazibat 32, 90+4-pen|
Home United goalkeeper and captain Hassan Sunny suffered a broken nose and a dislocated right shoulder after a horrific clash of heads with Albirex Niigata left back Naofumi Tanaka in an S.League match at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
The 33-year-old Singapore international came off his line to punch clear Kento Nagasaki's 39th-minute free-kick, but ended up feeling the full force of Tanaka's attempted header.
Both players stayed down and Hassan looked like he came off worse as he bled from the nose and lay motionless on the pitch, as a worried national coach V Sundramoorthy watched from the stands.
The doctor on duty was summoned to check on Hassan, before his neck was fitted with a brace and an oxygen mask administered as he was sent to the hospital for checks.
A groggy-looking Tanaka later got on to his feet and tried to play on but, by the end of the four minutes of added time, he, too, had to be stretchered off and taken to hospital.
As both ambulances were deployed, the second-half kickoff was delayed by 20 minutes to wait for their return, as per safety protocol.
The injuries marred an entertaining encounter in which Home blew open the title race by beating Albirex 2-0 to inflict a first defeat on the S.League leaders.
Yoshinaga Kazuaki's team remained top with 31 points after 12 matches, but the Protectors climbed to 26 points, one behind Tampines Rovers, but with a game in hand.
"My mind is definitely with Hassan more than on the win," said Home coach Aidil Sharin after the match.
"But, if you ask about the result, we were lucky because Albirex are a good team.
"Both are attacking teams that play good football. We took our chances and they didn't.
"We always believe we can close the gap and overtake Albirex, and we went some way to proving that tonight."
Albirex should have taken the lead in the 14th minute when Tanaka's left-wing cross eluded the entire Home defence and left Ryota Nakai with an open goal.
The forward took one touch to control the ball and that was all it took for the excellent Sirina Camara to mop up the danger.
PLAZIBAT PUNISHES SWANS
Stipe Plazibat punished the White Swans in the 32nd minute when he stabbed in off Tomoki Menda's desperate lunge, after Abdil Qaiyyim had flicked on Izzdin Shafiq's corner.
Home seemed more galvanised by the injury to their skipper and nearly scored a second after the break when Faris Ramli went clear on goal in the 55th minute but shot wide.
He did capitalise on a similar situation 10 minutes later, when he broke free with pace and was upended by last man Yasutaka Yanagi, resulting in a red card for the Albirex defender.
Home's substitute goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah produced an excellent save to deny Albirex striker Tsubasa Sano late on, before Plazibat converted a stoppage-time penalty to match Sano's league-high 16-goal tally after Faris was impeded in the box.