Title hopefuls Warriors put to the sword
WARRIORS FC 1
(Hafiz Rahim 21)
HOME UNITED 4
(Fazrul Nawaz 12, Indra Sahdan 71, 77, Bruno Castanheira 89)
It was billed as the acid test to Warriors FC's title credentials.
But Alex Weaver's men crashed in spectacular style in their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League match against Home United at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.
The eight-time S.League winners, who last won the title in 2009, lost 4-1 to a scintillating Home side, who powered to the win with three goals in the final 20 minutes.
Weaver, however, said the real test would be to see how his players react to the defeat when they take on defending champions Tampines Rovers next Thursday.
Asked how significant last night's loss was, the Briton said: "That depends on how we react to this. There are a couple of ways we can go from here, and I've got faith in my players that we'll respond positively.
"In the second half, we stopped doing certain things and that allowed Home United more space.
"Their movement, especially in midfield, was very, very good and we didn't deal with that in the second half.
"We're a much better team than that."
Heading into the game, Warriors had lost just once in nine matches and also boasted 14-goal duo Miroslav Pejic and Nicolas Velez.
They gave as good as they got in the first half and, after Home forward Fazrul Nawaz opened the scoring in the 12th minute, Hafiz Rahim equalised just nine minutes later.
In what was an entertaining match, Warriors' Argentine star Velez then struck the upright with a fierce shot, before Protectors' defender Kwon Da Kyung hit the crossbar with a header.
Home stepped up a gear after the break and forced Warriors' national No. 1 Hassan Sunny into several fine stops, the best being his flying save to deny Bruno Castanheira in the 62nd minute.
But the Warriors' resistance was broken in the 71st minute, when Indra Sahdan curled the ball past Hassan.
Six minutes later, former Warriors man Indra struck again and sealed the game with a cool finish off Sirina Camara's cut-back.
A minute before the end, Japanese forward Castanheira completed the rout by sweeping the ball home after Hassan could only divert Fazrul's shot into his path.
The win took Home up to fourth in the table, just a point behind second-placed Warriors and third-placed Tampines, who both have 20 points.
DPMM are top with 25 points.
Protectors coach Lee Lim Saeng said his team's performance in the second half was close to their best.
The South Korean said: "We created many chances and kept the ball very well. Our first half was also not bad. We dominated possession but didn't create as many chances as we did in the second half.
"I'm very happy because we won and even more because I think the fans enjoyed the match."
TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: Fazrul Nawaz (Home United)