News • October 21, 2016

Protectors Bring White Swans Crashing Down To Earth


Written By: Darren Ho

Home United took a giant step closer to achieving a place in the 2017 AFC Cup after a surprising 3-1 victory over newly-crowned 2016 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League champions Albirex Niigata (S) at Bishan Stadium on Thursday night.

Ken Ilso played the parts of both a hero and a villain when he scored the opener for Home, before cancelling out the Protectors’ lead with a mistimed header from an Albirex’s corner-kick that went straight into his own net.

Shamil Sharif then restored Home’s lead with some fortune before Ilso scored his second of the night to end Albirex’s hopes of a comeback.

The win more or less affirmed the Protectors’ bid to qualify for the continental competition next year, as they are now sitting in fourth spot with 37 points, three points above Geylang International, who need to beat Home by five goals or more when the two sides meet next week.

After an opening 15 minutes of lacklustre display from both teams, Home registered their first sight at goal.

Song Uiyoung delivered a teasing cross right into the path of Ilso, whose first-time shot was brilliantly kept out by the foot of the fully-stretched White Swans custodian Yosuke Nozawa.

Home continued pouring forward and eventually broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute.

Juma’at Jantan sent a fine pass to Ilso in the 18-yard box and Home’s number nine drifted past a defender before sending the ball into the back of the net, leaving Nozawa rooted to the spot.

The Japanese side managed to pull level on 57 minutes when Ilso sent a header into his own net from after a miscommunication with Protectors goallkeeper Eko Pradana, who had came off his line in an attempt to punch away Kento Nagasaki’s corner-kick.

The joy for the visitors however, was short-lived as Shamil soon put the home side back ahead in the 65th minute.

Faris Ramli’s attempts to place the ball through the legs of Nozawa after driving into the box took a deflection off the goalkeeper and Faris, before landing into the path of Shamil, who slid the ball into the net despite close attentions from Naofumi Tanaka.

Any hopes of finding another equalising goal evaporated for the White Swans five minutes from time when Aqhari Abdullah made a lung-bursting run into the box, before stringing an inviting pass to Ilso, who slotted the ball into the net from close-range.

Home United coach Aidil Sharin: “The key (to today’s victory) is that they (my players) wanted to get the three points, they want to be in the AFC for next season, and they want to beat the S.League champions.

“So they deserve (the win) with the commitment and attitude they put in for 90 minutes.

“I still believe the team can be better than today’s performance.

“With the players we have, we need to believe we can beat any team  in the S.league with their potential and talent, it’s all just about  hardwork and being humble after a win and to get another three points.”

Albirex Niigata (S) coach Nauro Naoki: “We wanted to get a good result today. So it is dissapointing to lose.

“Since we have won the S.League last week, we tried to score more goals and take more risk today, and that’s why we conceded three goals (which is more than usual).

“We have some problems playing without an artifical pitch, but more importantly, we didn’t have the motivation to play in this match.

“I’m worried, but we can learn form tonight’s result and worker harder (towards the RHB Singapore Cup final).”

Home United: Eko Pradana (GK), Juma’at Jantan (C), Shahrin Saberin, Sirina Camara, Song Uiyoung (Zulfahmi Arifin 77’), Haziq Azman (Abdil Qaiyyim 63’) , Shamil Sharif, Faris Ramli, Azhar Sairudin (Mahathir Azeman 84’) , Aqhari Abdullah, Ken Ilso

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK) (C), Kento Fujihara (Tomoki Menda 46’), Atsushi Shirota, Naofumi Tanaka, Shuto Inaba, Masaya Jitozono, Kazuki Mine (Rui Kumada 80’), Kento Nagasaki, Daichi Ishiyama (Tatsuro Inui 56’), Atsushi Kawata, Hiroyoshi Kamata