Singapore Cup • September 28, 2014
Eighth Singapore Cup Final appearance for Home United
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Home United made it to their eighth ever RHB Singapore Cup Final appearance this year, after making a great comeback to win 3-2 in a nail-biting semi-final second-leg encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
The aggregate was tied at 1-1 after the first leg, and DPMM was cruising to a 2-0 lead (3-1 on aggregate) at halftime after Roy O’Donovan and Rodrigo Tosi banged in the goals.
However, Home pulled one back through Sirina Camara to level matters at the break, while Noh Rahman and Song Inyoung then claimed two goals in the final ten minutes to send the Protectors marching to the Final.
DPMM were the ones showing more interest in reaching the Final in the first-half as they drew first blood in the fifth minute through O’Donovan, right after Home’s Qiu Li had his effort parried away by Wardun Yussof to deny them the lead.
The ex-Coventry City player capitalised on a scramble by the Home defence and smashed the ball into the back of the net after Azwan Ali’s free-kick crashed onto the post.
DPMM were very comfortable with spraying the ball around the pitch and switching plays effectively, whenever necessary.
It could have been goal number two just seven minutes later, but Azwan Ali agonisingly missed the post by a whisker.
Steve Kean’s side did not seem to be contented with the slender lead and were desperate to get into the dressing room with a two-goal cushion.
Roberto Alviz’s shot rolled just wide off the upright before things got worse for Home ten minutes before the interval, as the Wasps doubled their lead through a Tosi penalty.
Juma’at Jantan’s poor control on the ball was well-exploited by O’Donovan as the forward won the ball and surged to the penalty area before being brought down by the left-back. Tosi duly converted the resulting spot-kick to set DPMM on the ascendency.
Home did get back into the game to reduce the deficit at the brink of half-time through Camara, who lobbed the ball over Wardun after the DPMM defence failed to clear Lee Kwan Woo’s inswinging free-kick to safety.
Home started the second half the way they ended the first, as Camara was pushed up to a more attacking position, while DPMM remained wary and tight at the back but never stopped their attacks.
The Bruneian side almost regained their two-goal lead if not for Shahril Jantan’s double-save, which denied Azwan Ali’s half-volley and Donovan’s low finish.
Just five minutes into the restart, Lee was left scratching his head as his free-kick cannoned off the woodwork.
Home forced bodies forward hoping for one more goal to drag the game into extra-time as desperateness started getting into their way, but to not much avail.
Camara swung in a free-kick for Bruno Castanheira, but the Japanese’s free-header was well-saved by Wardun, before Lee’s free-kick hit the upright once again.
The defending champions’ best chance of the game came fifteen minutes before the final whistle when Juma’at’s shot thumped the right post before Castanheira’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Azwan Saleh.
However, their endeavours finally paid off as they equalised seven minutes from time through their skipper Noh.
The former Singapore international executed a thunderous strike from just outside the penalty box which rocketed the back of the net and sent the bench into raptures.
Their comeback was successfully competed through Song one minute before time.
Lee whipped in a free-kick for Qiu Li to head the ball onto the crossbar, before Song followed up with another header which looped into the top corner of the net.
Home now will lock horns with Balestier Khalsa in the Final on 7 November.