Singapore Premier League • June 7, 2018

Izzdin Shafiq stars as Home power past Young Lions


The Protectors captain laid on the first two goals and rounded off the scoring in a 4-1 win

Izzdin Shafiq celebrates after scoring for Home United FC against Young Lions.

SINGAPORE, 6 JUNE 2018 – Izzdin Shafiq ran the show with a goal and two assists as Home United FC served up a convincing 4-1 victory over Young Lions at Bishan Stadium on Wednesday night to close within five points of second-placed Tampines Rovers FC.

The Young Lions did well to level the scores in the first half through Adam Hakeem, after Shakir Hamzah had given Home an early lead.

However, Iqram Rifqi and Song Ui-young scored one apiece either side of the break before Izzdin rounded off the victory with a late strike.

The fans had barely settled into their seats when the hosts opened the scoring after just two minutes.

After Iqram was felled outside the area, Captain Izzdin played in a peach of a free-kick for Shakir to nod in his second goal in as many games.

The early setback woke the visitors from their slumber and they threatened on 13 minutes through Irfan Fandi , who somehow scuffed wide just in front of goal after Joshua Pereira had done well to knock on Zulqarnaen Suzliman’s teasing right-wing cross back across goal.

The Protectors failed to heed that warning as Fandi Ahmad’s charges restored parity two minutes later in fortunate fashion.

Off a Syahrul Sazali free-kick, Irfan got the better of Home goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah in the air. Faritz Hameed was the quickest to the loose ball but his attempted clearance ricocheted off Adam before going over the line, much to Home’s dismay.

The Young Lions did well to contain Home for the rest of the first half, but lost their concentration on the stroke of half-time.

Izzdin played a searching ball from deep over the top for Iqram, who judged the flight of the ball perfectly to thump home a superb first-time volley past a helpless Hairul Syirhan from an angle.

Half-time substitute Naufal Azman nearly made an immediate impact five minutes into the second half, connecting well with Hami Syahin’s free-kick only to see his header tipped away by Rudy.

That save would prove crucial as Home went on to grab a third in the 55th minute, which all but sealed the three points.

With Iqram drawing a foul from Zulqarnaen after a jinking run into the area, Song stepped up to convert from the spot for his 13th goal in all competitions this season despite Hairul getting a hand to the ball.

Izzdin then capped off an outstanding individual display six minutes from time when he strode onto substitute Hafiz Nor’s lay-off and smashed the ball into the top right corner from the edge of the box.

The victory was however tempered by a suspected anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury to French wide-man Sirina Camara, who lasted just 15 minutes on the pitch before being carried off on 71 minutes.

Home will take some confidence from the result as they face Albirex Niigata FC (S) next at their Jurong East fortress on Saturday, while the Young Lions will look to stop their five-match win-less run when they host Balestier Khalsa FC 24 hours later.

Home Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “It’s good to be back to winning ways. Now, we put the AFC Cup at the back of our minds and focus on (catching up on) the points we lost earlier in the league season.

“Izzdin’s been improving; he was carrying injuries but now he’s fully fit and back to his best. It’s good to see him scoring and enjoying the game.

“It’s hard for me to drop Anu (M. Anumanthan), but I have to look at who’s performing and consider the three Under-23 slots. Suhairi (Sabri) did well (in Anu’s position) and he deserves to be in the (Singapore) Under-23 team, just like Iqram (Rifqi).

“I spoke to the boys (and told them) that they must keep winning and put pressure on the top (teams). First (catching Albirex) is difficult, but football is full of surprises – let’s see what we can do against them on Saturday.”

Young Lions Head Coach Fandi Ahmad: “The players tried and reached their maximum effort today; they’re struggling with fitness with eight games in three weeks, which is killing them. We’re still making the same mistake (in defence) with the boys starting to lose concentration. The first goal – the marking was not good. The second goal – it was poor marking again and there was no tracking of the diagonal pass.

“But I thought the penalty (for Home’s third goal) was very dubious. It was a clean tackle, he (Zulqarnaen) made a clean tackle and nobody was appealing for a penalty.

“I cannot fault the players for their commitment. They come from school and army, but nobody said they are not fit to play. We still have one more game on Sunday before a good (13-day) break.”

Home: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Aqhari Abdullah, Abdil Qaiyyim, Shakir Hamzah, Faizal Roslan, Suhairi Sabri, Izzdin Shafiq (C), Faritz Hameed (Hafiz Nor 82′), Song Ui-young, Iqram Rifqi (Sirina Camara 56′ (Christopher van Huizen 71′)), Shahril Ishak.
Unused subs: Eko Pradana (GK), M. Anumanthan, Amy Recha, Arshad Shamim.

Young Lions: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Irfan Fandi (Syed Firdaus Hassan 63’), Adam Hakeem, Syahrul Sazali, Taufiq Muqminin (C) (Amer Hakeem 90’+1), Joshua Pereira, Prakash Raj (Naufal Azman 46’), Hami Syahin, Haiqal Pashia, Ikhsan Fandi.
Unused subs: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Aniq Iskandar, Ifwat Ismail.

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