Singapore Cup • July 4, 2014

Protectors Ease To Semis


(Aggregate: Loyola Meralco Sparks 1-4 Home United)

Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Home United booked their semi-final spot in the RHB Singapore Cup after a 2-1 victory over Loyola Meralco Sparks in the second-leg affair of the quarter-finals.

Goals by Lee Kwan Woo and Qiu Li were more than enough to present Home with advancement, as Phillip Younghusband’s consolation could only reduce the overall aggregate deficit to a three-goal margin.

The Protectors had entered the game with a two-goal advantage, following their 2-0 defeat over the Philippines side four days ago.

Loyola were playing with three-man upfront, namely: Lee Joo Young, Phillip Younghusband and Matthew Hartmann, but that allowed them to have loopholes in midfield for most of the match, which Home brilliantly capitalised on.

However it was Loyola who had the first chance of the evening, after Precious Emuejeraye agonisingly gave the ball away to Phillip in an area of strike-able distance, but the born English-born Filipino’s effort crashed onto the upright.

Home then increased their margin of advantage, as they scored in the 20th minute to claim their third goal in aggregate, through Lee.

Qiu was brought down in the penalty box by Joaquin Canas Garcia and Lee duly stepped up to send the custodian the wrong way to present them with the lead in the second leg.

Loyola did not want to throw in the towel just yet and were keen in drawing level as Lee Joo Young’s header off Hartmann’s corner just sailed inches wide.

It was practically game-over for the Philippines side as they conceded another goal in the six  minutes later to dash all hopes.

It was not only a fourth goal (in aggregate) for the Protectors, but also a goal of efficient and immediate counter-attack as Lee latched onto a long ball before sweeping it wide for Bruno Castanheira.

The Japanese cleverly laid the ball towards an overlapping Sirina Camara, and the latter crossed a low ball for Qiu to slot it past Baba Sampana.

The rest of the first half showcased plenty of other chances, including Juma’at Jantan’s long shot which flew over the bar and Phillip’s similar effort which got parried away by Shahril Jantan.

After the restart, it was the visitors who were getting close to scoring opportunities, and they were  rewarded with a consolation in their third chance of the half, through Phillip in the 58th minute.

The forward saw his effort roll wide the post and Hartmann had his shot pushed away by Shahril, before Phillip’s rocket-shot from just outside the penalty box reached the top right corner of the net.

Substitutes Masrezwan Masturi and Fazrul Nawaz each had a chance before the hour mark, as the former’s volley weaved over the bar and the latter’s header off Kwon Dakyung’s cross was saved by Sampana.

In the last 20 minutes of the game, it was Loyola who were trying to claim another consolation by pressing hard and penetrating in any allowed space, but they could not gain anything thanks to a defensively resolute Home side.

Loyola were left packing their bags to head home while the Protectors will be facing the winner of the other quarter-final clash between Albirex Niigata (S) and Brunei DPMM, in which the Wasps are relishing a one-goal advantage after the first-leg.