Home United continue their surge
Protectors turn it on to continue recent surge
HOME UNITED 3
(Ken Ilso 16, Song Ui Young 28, Faris Ramli 78)
HOUGANG UNITED 2
(Stipe Plazibat 41-pen, Raihan Abdul Rahman 86)
With an abundance of creative players at his disposal, this was the type of attacking performance Home United coach Philippe Aw envisioned at the start of this Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season.
Quick reactions, slick passing and clinical finishing were all on display as they beat Hougang United last night to continue their resurgence, following a poor start to the season.
The 2,613 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium got their money's worth as they were treated to a five-goal thriller that also featured five yellow cards, a dispute as to whether a Hougang shot had crossed the line and a penalty for the Cheetahs.
But the best goals were scored by Home, and the pick of the bunch was the 16th-minute opener.
Azhar Sairudin fed Ken Ilso from midfield, and the Dane helped it on to Khairul Nizam, who skipped past Anumanthan Mohan Kumar on the right flank before returning the ball to Ilso.
The former Bundesliga forward then cut past Yusiskandar Yusop before slotting past Khairulhin Khalid.
Twelve minutes later, Home scored from a lightning break off a Hougang corner, with Faris Ramli combining with the energetic Song Ui Young, who finished calmly.
The Cheetahs roared back, but Jozef Kaplan was denied a superb long-range goal in the 40th minute, when the officials were not convinced the ball had crossed the line after crashing off the bar.
They did score from the spot a minute later, after Zulfahmi Arifin fouled Nazrul Ahmad Nazari in the box. Stipe Plazibat converted the spot-kick.
The second half was also an end-to-end affair, and Faris seemed to have sealed the win when he latched on to Syahiran Miswan's through-ball to score 12 minutes from time.
But Raihan Abdul Rahman headed in Fumiya Kogure's 86th-minute corner to make it a nervy end for Home, who had goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma'at to thank for keeping out Kaplan's last-minute shot that seemed bound for the bottom corner.
With the three points, Home rose to fourth in the standings, one behind third-placed Hougang and eight behind leaders Albirex Niigata.
Targeting the top three, Aw said: "We played very good football that was good to watch. We are still conceding easy goals which are down to individual errors, which I hope we will run out of soon."
Hougang coach K Balagumaran challenged his team to bounce back.
He said: "We showed good fighting spirit against a good team today. Our fittest players like Nazrul and Kaplan suffered cramps, which showed how hard they worked.
"We have lost games before this season but our reaction has always been positive, so I expect that too when we play Tampines next week."
TNP MAN OF THE MATCH:
Song Ui Young (Home United)