Ilso and Ramdani's partnership blooming at Home
Despite scoring just 13 goals between them, Ilso and Ramdani have been influential for the Protectors
HOME UNITED v TAMPINES ROVERS
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, Yishun Stadium)
At the start of the 2015 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League campaign, Ken Ilso and Kamel Ramdani looked like they would be the perfect partnership to fire Home United to glory.
Ilso arrived with a portfolio that included the German Bundesliga as well as the Dutch and Danish top flights, while Ramdani had spent the last two years establishing himself as one of the S.League's craftiest playmakers with Tanjong Pagar United.
However, with two-thirds of the season gone, it looks as though the duo have failed to really fire, given they have combined for just 13 of the Protectors' 31 goals in all competitions.
But their output fails to fully illustrate just how influential they have been for Home.
Ilso was restricted to the sidelines for almost two months with a knee injury but remains Home's top scorer this year with eight goals.
Ramdani's tally of five league goals is actually commendable given he netted the same number for Tanjong Pagar in the whole 2014 campaign; additionally, he's played various roles this year, including on the wing and as a central midfielder.
Ilso has proven to be the difference on numerous occasions, including his superb double in a 2-1 win RHB Singapore Cup win over Warriors FC, as well as scoring the penalty in last week's 1-0 league triumph over Hougang United.
Tomorrow, the Dane will be looking to inspire Home again at the Yishun Stadium when they take on Tampines Rovers, whom he also scored against back in March.
Although his reputation makes him a marked man, Ilso believes it is actually an advantage for his side.
"Actually, I've had that reputation throughout my whole career," he told The New Paper matter of factly.
"Even in Europe, I was always kept on for 90 minutes unless I was having a really terrible game, because the coaches knew I could be quiet for 80 minutes and then create something.
"But it also helps because if the opponents know they have to keep an eye on me for the whole game, it allows more room for the other players to take advantage of."
One of Home's strengths this season has been their ability to play attractive, intricate football in the attacking third.
And Ilso believes there could still be more to come from his partnership with Ramdani.
The 28-year-old said: "It's called playing intelligence, isn't it?
"For example, I think 80 per cent of the chances I've had have come from Kamel's foot.
"The players have this kind of understanding and it's very important, but we're still learning from each other every day.
"Obviously, it was lacking a little at the start of the season. But you only get this when you play with the same people over and over again, and it can really make all the difference."