League Cup • July 15, 2014
Home Prevail In Group C, Knocks SRC Out
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Home United advanced to the StarHub League Cup quarter-finals as Group C leaders following a convincing 2-0 win over Singapore Recreation Club at the Bishan Stadium on Monday evening.
Goals by Sirina Camara and Fazli Ayob in the span of two minutes ensured that they also concluded the round-robin stage with a relatively high goal difference of seven, after they cruised past Woodlands Wellington 6-1 in their opening game.
The men in red stepped on the gas pedal and never took their foot of it since the first whistle.
Ten minutes into the game, Home had the first opportunity of the game following a fluid move from midfield.
A quick exchange of one-touch passes between Fazli and Indra Sahdan saw the latter in acres of space as he sprinted forward, before finishing his effort wide.
His strike-partner Masrezwan Masturi was presented with an opportunity too, but his tame effort was pretty easy for SRC goalkeeper Ronnie Smollet to handle.
Home were enjoying the possession throughout the game in the final third, and their swift ball-switching to the wide areas was constantly giving SRC’s flankers a tough evening.
The Protectors suffered a mini-heart attack in the 32nd minute when Precious Emuejeraye failed to clear Ali Imran Lomri’s cross away, as the ball landed perfectly for Naoto Iwasawa to shoot from just three yards out.
Much to the dismay of the SRC’s bench, the Japanese’s effort was brilliantly parried away by Shahril onto the crossbar, before the Home defence woke up and cleared the ball, this time round to safety.
The ‘shock-treatment’ however was still not over as Ali’s following corner was headed onto the upright by Itimi Dickson.
Those were arguably the best series of chances for both teams, and Home were needing an opener to open the game up.
They were rewarded with it three minutes before the interval, when Camara coolly converted a penalty after Alfiah Yusoff handled the ball in the 18-yard area.
It was number two just a minute later through Fazli, who latched onto a brilliant through-ball from Indra before tapping the ball past Smollet with his first touch.
Home maintained their composure in the second half as they stuck to their game-plan of passing around and penetrating when possible.
Substitute Bruno Castanheira could have made it 3-0 if not for his effort ricocheting off the woodwork.
Home seemed contented with the two goals and started to play it safe towards the end of the game by not forcing any attacks.
Referee W.Ravisanthiran blew the final whistle soon after, and Home will now be facing Group D runners-up Hougang United, while Woodlands face Group D leaders Brunei DPMM.
SRC still has something to play for, as they lock horns with Balestier Khalsa in the plate semi-finals.