Home snatch dramatic victory
Croat scores two goals in dying minutes to secure comeback win over Global
|HOME UNITED||GLOBAL FC|
|(Song Ui Yong 36, Stipe Plazibat 89, 90+4)||(Germaine Agustien 6-pen, Shu Sasaki 49)|
If there was one man at the Jalan Besar Stadium who did not want the second leg of the AFC Cup Asean zonal semi-finals to go into extra-time last night, it would have to be Home United striker Stipe Plazibat.
The 27-year-old had already booked a 12.40am flight back to Croatia for a 10-day holiday during the international break, and he joked that was the reason he wanted to finish the game in regulation time.
He did that with aplomb.
Deep into time added-on, he curled in a lovely free-kick to help Home to a 3-2 win over Filipino side Global FC for a 5-4 aggregate victory.
His winner sealed a dramatic comeback win for Home, who were 2-1 down with just one minute of regulation time left.
He said: "I actually did not want to take a free-kick any more because the last five or six that I took were very bad.
"But, after scoring the equaliser, I felt like I could do more and nobody else went for the ball, so I took the free-kick.
"Now, I can happily go back to my family for a short holiday before coming back stronger."
It was a spirited display by Home, who had ground out a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Manila.
Global scored yesterday's opening goal from the spot through Germaine Agustien in the sixth minute. But South Korean Song Ui Yong's unstoppable left-footer levelled the score.
Global regained the lead four minutes after the break via Shu Sasaki's header.
The turning point of the match came in the 71st minute when Global's Dennis Villanueva was sent off for a high boot on substitute Marijan Suto.
Home began to pile on the pressure and were rewarded a minute from time.
With big centre back Irfan Fandi pushed up front and making a menace of himself, the away defence failed to clear Shamil Sharif's cross and Plazibat blasted home the equaliser.
Then came the Croat's free-kick, which settled the issue once and for all.
In the two-legged Asean zonal finals in August, Home will meet the winners of the other semi-final between Ceres and Johor Darul Ta'zim in Bacolod tonight.
The Malaysian champions hold a 3-2 lead from the first leg.
Said Aidil: "Our players showed that they really wanted the final. Even though many of them were fasting, going 12 hours without food and drinks, they gave everything, they never let us down.
"The fans did a lot to help us, and we will need them for the final and our S.League matches.
"It means a lot to be the first Singaporean club to reach a final in the AFC Cup, and it's something to be proud of for Singapore football."