Home stars Hassan and Irfan fit to start against Ceres
Home United coach Aidil Sharin received a double boost ahead of the first leg of the AFC Cup Asean final against Ceres Negros tomorrow night.
Goalkeeper Hassan Sunny and defender Irfan Fandi have both recovered from their injuries and are fit to start against the Philippine outfit.
The duo were injured during last Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Warriors FC in the S.League.
Hassan needed 13 stitches to close up a cut under his eye after a clash with Warriors winger Jordan Webb, while Irfan, who scored Home's goal, incurred memory loss.
He appeared in a daze during the game and could not remember if he had suffered any collision. Aidil took Irfan out and sent him to the hospital, where he was warded.
Aidil told The New Paper after a training session at Bishan Stadium yesterday: "Both have been cleared by the doctor. They went for reviews and it's a good sign that Irfan is coping well.
"Hassan is doing good and wants to play. They are my key players, so they will definitely be part of the starting line-up."
The 40-year-old coach is wary of Ceres' physical style of play, but was adamant his team will be able to compete although Hassan and Irfan have just returned from injuries.
He said: "They have to be stronger than the rest.
"I've been working with my fitness coach and technical staff to ensure that injured players come back just as fit or even fitter than the others.
"Ceres are a very physical team because of their large stature and height.
"They're also a technically strong team so we will be smart against them."
Home might not be at full strength as injured South Korean midfielder Song Ui Yong is still in doubt.
But Aidil insists his team are up for the challenge, especially for the home leg.
He said: "I have to take one game at a time but the first game is especially important.
"We have to get the result at home to motivate the players and the team.
"If we don't get the result at home, we will be under pressure and find it difficult to recover as Ceres are always good at their ground.
"But, with skill and teamwork, we can beat them."
The second leg will be played in Bacolod City on Aug 9.