Singapore Premier League • September 29, 2018

Classy Shahril seals Champions League slot for Home


The veteran attacker’s deft strike rescued a 1-1 draw against Tampines Rovers FC to clinch second place

Home’s staff and players with their prize money for finishing second.

SINGAPORE, 29 SEP 2018 – Home United FC eked out a 1-1 draw against Tampines Rovers FC at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday night to seal second spot in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL).

Khairul Amri gave the Stags the lead before Shahril Ishak equalised for the Protectors to earn his team a place in the first preliminary round of the AFC Champions League qualifying play-offs next season.

The significance of the occasion – both teams fighting to finish second – was obvious from the get-go as both coaches, Aidil Sharin and Juergen Raab, postured animatedly on the touchline from the first minute.

The visitors had the better of the earlier exchanges as Song Ui-young went for an early third-minute shot to test Syazwan Buhari in goal.

It was the South Korean who was at it again in the 11th minute when his through ball set Fazli Ayob free, but the winger’s effort was saved by Syazwan.

The Stags finally got into the game on 16 minutes when Irwan Shah’s pinpoint cross found Khairul Amri, who took a couple of touches before unleashing a shot that was deflected out for a corner.

The tension between the two teams began to fester further as Madhu Mohana caught Song late in the 20th minute and earned himself a caution.

With both sides pressing high, there was little time on the ball and neither team managed to string their passes together.

The Protectors began the second period with Faritz Hameed almost breaking the deadlock in the 49th minute. Shahril’s cheeky cut-back gave him acres of space in the box, but the wing-back drilled a low effort narrowly wide.

It was Tampines’ turn on 57 minutes to test goalkeeper Kenji Rusydi. Some good work down the right by Zulfadhmi Suzliman found Ryutaro Megumi unmarked in the box and the Japanese forward’s cross was palmed away by Kenji, who reacted quickly to push away Amri’s follow-up.

As both teams went in search of the winner, it was the Stags who carved out the opening goal from nowhere in the 72nd minute. Megumi was adjudged to have been tripped by Abdil Qaiyyim in the box and Amri stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty to make it 1-0.

Their lead only lasted four minutes as Song’s headed flick-on found Shahril, who adjusted brilliantly to steer a first-time effort with the outside of his right boot past Syazwan.

Tampines then conceded a penalty when substitute Shah Shahiran brought down Hafiz Nor, but Syazan saved from Song to give his side hope.

However, the visitors held on for the draw that confirmed their status as the highest-placed local team in the league with 43 points.

Tampines Head Coach Juergen Raab: “The situation was very clear, we knew we must win and that was the target. We did a good job and we showed up today. Normally when you are so close to something, you want a good end to it but this probably sums up our season.

“We have not had the complete quality in the team to keep a lead this season. Their equaliser was so easy. We don’t have as much quality this season as last year because we had more young players this time but that is okay because we now know which players have the quality, which players we should continue with next season. We definitely need more balance in the team next season.”

Home Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “For me, it is important to put the club first instead of myself. We haven’t reached this level as a club for a while now. We haven’t finished second in the league and haven’t played Champions League football for a long time.

“So this season, for the club, I’m really happy but the credit has to go to the players and coaching staff because this journey wouldn’t have happened without their commitment.

“Having said that, this is just the start. We need to focus now on Albirex. If we want to play Champions League football, we must show we can do well against Albirex and not just finish second behind them. So hopefully, we can bring something against them (in the Singapore Cup) on Wednesday.”

Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Daniel Bennett (C), Madhu Mohana (Taufik Suparno 80’ (Shah Shahiran 90’+2)), Irfan Najeeb, Irwan Shah, Shameer Aziq (Hafiz Sujad 68’), Amirul Adli, Jordan Webb, Ryutaro Megumi, Zulfadhmi Suzliman, Khairul Amri.
Unused subs: Hariz Farid (GK), Faizal Raffi, Elijah Lim, Ryhan Stewart.

Home: Kenji Rusydi (GK), Shakir Hamzah, Abdil Qaiyyim, Faizal Roslan, Faritz Hameed, Isaka Cernak, Iqram Rifqi (Aqhari Abdullah 61’), Izzdin Shafiq (C), Fazli Ayob (Hafiz Nor 79’), Song Ui-young, Shahril Ishak (M. Anumanthan 83’).
Unused subs: Eko Pradana Putra (GK), Amy Recha, Amiruldin Asraf, Christopher Van Huizen.