Singapore Premier League • August 22, 2014
Protectors Blow White Swans Away With First-Half’s Performance
Written By: Kenneth Ho
Home United put on a master-class performance in the first half of the encounter against Albirex Niigata (S) at Bishan Stadium on Thursday evening as they cruised to a 4-2 victory.
Despite conceding two minutes into the game, the Protectors stormed back to put four goals past Albirex goalkeeper Kenjiro Ogino within the opening 45 minutes.
Kazuya Okazaki had stroked a free kick over the wall and planted it into the bottom corner to gift the visitors an early lead, but that proved to be a false start as Home grabbed hold of the game thereafter.
Bruno Castanheira could have equalised three minutes later but he blazed over from a great scoring position after running onto Fazrul Nawaz’s through ball.
However, Home did not have to wait long to level matters though, as Lee Kwan Woo then fired in a free kick from the edge of the box in the 13th minute.
Moments later, Sirina Camara lashed a Nawaz chest-down away from goal as the Protectors threatened to run riot.
The striker showed Camara how it was done in the 18th minute, as he ran onto a long ball to chip the onrushing Ogino to give Home the lead.
Nawaz’s striker partner Castanheira then nearly replicated the former’s goal when he latched onto another long ball in the 25th minute to face Ogino one-on-one but this time the chip went wayward.
However, the Japanese made up for his miss by turning provider just after the half-hour mark as he pulled the ball back across the face of goal for Lee Kwan Woo to slam past Ogino and grab his brace.
The Albirex goalkeeper continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers, as he was then forced to push away Juma’at Jantan’s 25-yard effort
However, the custodian was left powerless when Fazli Ayob provided a moment of brilliance by lashing a 20-yard screamer into the top corner in the 42nd minute to cap a superb first half for the hosts.
Albirex came out fighting in the second half, with Keisuke Ota forcing Home custodian Shahril Jantan into numerous saves with his long-shots.
Home on the other hand seemed to have taken the foot off the pedal, and sporadically threatened the Albirex goal.
The hosts were made to pay for their sloppiness, as Kazuki Sakamoto headed in his side’s second via Itsuki Yamada’s cross to reduce the deficit to a two-goal margin in the 72nd minute.
That sparked some life into Home, as Albirex defender Shuhei Hotta was called upon to clear Camara’s goalbound effort ten minutes from time.
Home held firm to maintain the score, and the win saw them go up to 37 points, two away from league leaders Brunei DPMM.