News • April 3, 2014
Indra Winner Keeps Protectors’ Continental Hopes Alive
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Home United kept their AFC Cup hopes alive after a narrow 2-1 win over Churchill Brothers at Jalan Besar Stadium in their Group E match on Wednesday night, thanks to Indra Sahdan Daud’s winner.
On his return from a lengthy injury lay-off, the 34-year-old came off the bench to score the winning goal for Home in the second-half after Precious Emuejeraye’s own goal had cancelled out Fazrul Nawaz’s opener.
The game got off to a tentative start but it was Home who looked the likelier of the two to score while Churchill, on the other hand, relied mainly on counter attacks to find an opening.
Home started with a four-pronged attack which saw Bruno Castanheira and Yasir Hanapi flanking forwards Qiu Li and Fazrul as they created the early chances.
Fazrul narrowly failed to connect with Qiu’s low cross in the fifth minute before midfielder Izzdin Shafiq blasted a first-time shot just over minutes later.
Meanwhile, all the visitors could muster was an effort from Vales Jaison in the 10th minute which went inches wide of the post.
Castanheira who was a threat down the left for the Protectors with his direct running then came close with a rasping shot in the 17th minute as he fired one which flew just over the bar.
For all their dominance, it was no surprise when Home eventually took the lead with a quarter of an hour into the match
An Izzdin pass found Yasir inside the penalty area, and he then played the ball to Fazrul and the former LionsXII forward fired a left-footed shot past Churchill goalkeeper Thapa Lalit
However, Home’s joy at going ahead was short-lived as they conceded under unfortunate circumstances a minute later when Precious inexplicably sliced a long ball over his own goalkeeper Shahril Jantan.
Fazrul nearly regained the advantage for Lee Lim Saeng’s side just before half-time, but could only blaze over after latching onto Lee Kwan Woo’s precise through pass.
After the restart, Yasir saw his low cross parried by Thapa before the Churchill custodian had to be alert to tip a backward header from his own defender Sanjay Balmuchu over for a corner in the 50th minute.
But it was an inspired substitution from Home coach Lee Lim Saeng in the 54th minute which resulted in the winner.
Coming on for Precious, an unmarked Indra took a touch before smashing home Castanheira’s cutback in the six-yard box to seal all three points for Home on 72 minutes.
Qiu, Juma’at Jantan and Lee Kwan Woo then all had opportunities to further extend the lead for Home later on but failed to finish them although they hung on for a much-needed victory.
With this, the Protectors moved to third on four points after group leaders Persipura Jayapura beat New Radiant 2-0 in another match played on the same day.