Ilso's double gives Home 2-1 advantage in Singapore Cup
Ilso finally comes good for Home after putting injury woes behind him
QUARTER-FINAL, 1ST LEG
WARRIORS FC 1
(Karlo Ivancic 57)
HOME UNITED 2
(Ken Ilso 55, 70)
He was tipped to shine in this season's Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.
After all, Ken Ilso arrived at Home United at the start of the year with excellent credentials, having played in both the German Bundesliga and Dutch Eredivisie.
But, hampered by injury in the first half of the campaign, the 28-year-old Dane has shown just glimpses of his quality.
Last night at Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Ilso rose to the fore as he netted a clinical double to hand nine-man Home United a superb 2-1 win in the first leg of their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final against Warriors FC.
The Protectors, who have struggled with inconsistency in the first half of the season, are now unbeaten in five games in all competitions.
Their run of form has coincided with Ilso's return to the starting line-up, and the former VfL Bochum attacker is determined to make up for lost time.
"Having been out for three to four months with injury, it takes time to get your rhythm back," he told The New Paper last night.
"Now I've been back for almost two months, I'm starting to feel better and it's a good thing that the games are just coming one after the other.
"It was a great performance tonight and, after we went down to 10 men, I think we were more clever and started playing the type of football we want to play."
The Protectors did not have the best of starts as Sirina Camara was sent off in the 15th minute, apparently for abusing referee Sukhbir Singh.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the visitors arguably pieced together the better attacking moves in the first half.
Ten minutes after the break, Ilso handed them the lead when he latched onto Ambroise Begue's deft flick and advanced on goal before curling a shot into the top corner with aplomb.
The Warriors equalised just two minutes later when a short-corner routine picked out Karlo Ivancic in space, and the midfielder made no mistake in sending a 25-metre strike into the back of the net.
But Ilso had the final say as he produced a moment of brilliance in the 70th minute, skipping past a man on the edge of the box before sending a rocket past a hapless Daniel Ong to give his team a slender advantage in the two-legged tie.
Still, the tie remains evenly poised as Home will be without Camara and midfielder Yasir Hanapi, who was also sent off in injury-time, for Saturday's second leg.
Warriors coach Alex Weaver believes his team can still progress to the last four.
He said: "My team are good when we have our backs against the wall and we're more than capable of addressing the situation in the second leg."