Home United finally get some luck
Down 1-0, hosts bounce back for first victory laced with some luck
HOME UNITED 4
(Ken Ilso 18, Zulfahmi Arifin 31, Khairul Nizam 50, 83)
GARENA YOUNG LIONS 1
(Fareez Farhan 11)
Despite the scoreline, it was not the most decisive of victories.
And it certainly will not be a result that defines Home United's campaign in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League this year.
Yet, last night at Bishan Stadium, the Protectors could be forgiven for feeling that Lady Luck was finally smiling on them as they cruised to a 4-1 triumph over the Garena Young Lions.
Without a win in their first four matches, many of which they dominated but failed to get the result, it looked as though it was going to be another of those nights when Fareez Farhan pounced on an error to hand the visitors an 11th-minute lead.
This time, however, Home were finally getting the rub of the green.
After Ken Ilso had fired them level, Zulfahmi Arifin fortuitously put them ahead when his 30-metre free-kick sailed all the way in, before a second-half double from Khairul Nizam wrapped up a convincing win.
The relief on Home coach Philippe Aw's face was clear for all to see, as his charges climbed off the foot of the table and into sixth spot.
"We handed them the lead and, after four games without a win, we could have crumbled from that one mistake," he said.
"But I'm very happy with how our boys responded and we definitely deserved whatever luck that came our way today."
Entering the game as favourites despite their poor start to the season, the hosts found themselves behind when goalkeeper Zulfairuuz Rudy inexplicably raced out of his box only to fluff an attempted header, paving the way for Fareez to stroke his shot into the unguarded net.
It took Home seven minutes to respond when a Sirina Camara cross was finished off by Ilso inside the six-yard box, before Zulfahmi handed them the lead when his free-kick delivery into the box sailed over everyone before bouncing past a surprised Benjamin Bertrand.
Growing in confidence, a third goal arrived for the Protectors five minutes after the interval, as Nizam sent a looping header into the far corner after an excellent run and cross by Ilso down the left.
And more fortune fell their way with seven minutes remaining, when Young Lions defender Marcus Wheeler sent a clearance header straight to the unmarked Nizam, who made no mistake in slotting past Bertrand.
The 24-year-old offered his side plenty in attack despite playing in the unfamiliar role of a wide forward, and insists he will be ready to do a job if given the nod by Singapore coach Bernd Stange in the upcoming matches against Myanmar and Afghanistan.
"Of course, I'm very happy with how the game went and I hope this will be a boost for us," said the former LionsXII man.
"I'm feeling very confident now and, if coach Bernd decides to give me a chance, I will be ready to do my best."
Meanwhile, Young Lions coach Patrick Hesse admits his side will have to learn to play for a full 90 minutes, saying: "We scored a goal early in the game and then did well to have some more chances to score again, but it's not enough at the moment.
"The positives are what we were able to achieve in the first half but, in the second half, we didn't play to our game any more."