Singapore Premier League • April 22, 2018
Sensational Hafiz Nor spearheads Home rout of Geylang
The attacker struck a brace and laid on an assist as the Protectors cruised to a 4-1 win at Bedok
Hafiz Nor celebrates after scoring for Home United FC.
SINGAPORE, 22 APRIL 2018 – A superb individual showing from Hafiz Nor helped Home United FC claim a convincing 4-1 victory against Geylang International FC in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) on Sunday night at Bedok Stadium.
The 29-year-old broke the deadlock inside two minutes and added another before the half-hour, before laying on the fourth for the visitors just before the break.
The defeat meant the beleaguered hosts slipped back to the foot of the table with just one point from five games and remain one of three teams without a win this season.
With an eye on their crucial AFC Cup group match against Ceres-Negros FC on Wednesday, Home Head coach Aidil Sharin made five changes to his starting line-up.
South Korean midfielder Song Ui-young only made the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury, but that did not stop the Protectors from making a dream start.
Following good work down the left from Arshad Shamim and Shahril Ishak, Hafiz slotted the ball underneath an onrushing Zainol Gulam after recovering from a stumble as he took the pass.
The 29-year-old showed great composure again to finish past Zainol after being slipped through on goal by Christopher van Huizen in the 24th minute.
It then became 3-0 on 36 minutes when M. Anumanthan released Fazli Ayob to put a low cross across the face of goal for Shahril to stab home from close range.
Defender Faizal Roslan would get in the act on the stroke of half-time, volleying in a Hafiz corner at the far post to give Home a comfortable cushion going into the break.
It was all Geylang after the interval and Shawal Anuar reduced the deficit on 49 minutes, sneaking in unmarked inside the box to glance a header past Home goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah.
That goal gave the Eagles hopes of a comeback, with Fairoz Hasan’s strike ruled out for offside before substitute Ryan Syaffiq flashed one wide just after the hour mark as they grew in confidence.
Fumiya Kogure saw his free-kick brilliantly tipped away by Rudy in the 71st minute, with compatriot Yuki Ichikawa nodding over from the ensuing corner.
Home could have made sure of the result four minutes later, but Shahril was thwarted by Zainol in a one-on-one situation.
Despite a late onslaught from Geylang, they could not find another goal as they slumped to their fourth defeat of the season and will next face reigning champions Albirex at Jurong East on Saturday, April 28.
WHAT THEY SAID
Geylang Head Coach Hirotaka Usui: “The players were all sleeping in the first-half… We conceded that goal too early in the game and that led to them losing confidence. It has been like that in our past few matches and we need to find a solution as soon as possible.
“I told the players at half time that they cannot give up and the second-half performance was much better. I took a very big risk by playing only three defenders and one midfielder. It was in fact a high risk, but I’m happy with their performance in the second-half. We didn’t give up and could have scored (more).”
Home Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “The Albirex game was a bad day for all of us, not only one or two players and I told them we have to put that aside and bounce back as quickly as possible. We cannot go into the Ceres game with low confidence and we needed to change something in this game.
“I’m very happy (with what I saw today), especially from Hafiz and Arshad. They don’t play regularly but they waited for their chance and they did well today. Arshad is only 19 but lasted a full game today while Hafiz proved that he is a quality player who just needs to be more consistent and I’m happy for both of them.”
Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Darren Teh, Jufri Taha, Yuki Ichikawa, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (C), Noor Ariff (Fuad Ramli 65’), Azhar Sairudin (Yeo Hai Ngee 46’), Umar Akhbar Ramle (Ryan Syaffiq 40’), Fairoz Hasan, Fumiya Kogure, Shawal Anuar.
Unused subs: Basil Chan (GK), Sadiq Rahim, Danish Irfan, Cameron Bell.
Home: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Shahrin Saberin, Shakir Hamzah, Faizal Roslan, Faritz Hameed, Christopher van Huizen (Izzdin Shafiq 65’), M. Anumanthan, Fazli Ayob (Song Ui-young 72’), Arshad Shamim, Hafiz Nor (Amy Recha 80’), Shahril Ishak (C).
Unused subs: Kenji Asyraf (GK), Aqhari Abdullah, Amiruldin Asraf, Iqram Rifqi.
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Check out the report of the Hougang-Balestier game played on the same night here http://www.fas.org.sg/competitions/iqbal-rescues-point-hougang-halt-balestier-streak/