Singapore Premier League • September 18, 2015
Slim Victory Good Enough For Aw
Written by: Shawn Lim
Home United coach Philippe Aw was pleased to see his side rewarded with three points after dominating their match against Hougang United on Thursday night at Jalan Besar Stadium.
In what turn out to be a tightly-contested affair, it took a penalty by Ken Ilso in the 63th minute to separate the two sides after a first-half which saw both sides missed plenty of chances to open the scoring.
Aw was also relieved to see the Protectors extend their unbeaten run to six games after initially fearing that his side was rusty after the break.
“It wasn’t easy to come back after the break because we had good momentum before that. Hougang is a much improved side, so I’m just glad that we got the three points,” said Aw.
“But I think we really deserved the three points because we dominated the game and we secured another clean sheet.”
With influential left back Sirina Camara serving out the second of his four-match ban, Aw moved playmaker Kamel Ramdani to an unfamiliar role on the left flank to allow in-form midfielder Azhar Sairudin to play in the number 10 role instead.
However, Ramdani’s tendency to drift to into the middle meant that there were no crosses coming in for targetman Ken Ilso in the first half and resulted in Home only having one shot on target.
While there was a marked improvement by Home after Aw made a couple of changes at half-time, he was concerned that his side couldn’t kill the game off after taking the lead.
“In the first half, Ramdani vacated the flanks too much and drifted into the middle. That was part of the reason why in the first-half we couldn’t really penetrate much,” explained the 39-year-old.
“At half-time, we made a couple of changes and he played really well in the second-half.
“But in terms of the final third in the second-half, at times we had the opportunity to go for the kill but we didn’t. We just wanted to keep possession.
“It was a dangerous thing to do because at 1-0 and if you don’t kill a team like Hougang off, they have tall and big players that will hurt you.
“Going into the last stretch of the league games, we need to learn how to kill opponents off as early as possible to make things easier for us.”
Meanwhile, Aw’s opposite counterpart Salim Moin was critical of his team’s performance having felt that they had slacked off during the game.
“In the first half, we should have scored a goal but we were not clinical enough to convert our chances after we had won possession in our opponent’s’ half,” said the former Singapore International footballer.
“I have also told the team before that if we cannot score, we have to stay organised because in football, players need to understand that if we lose possession, they have to get back to defend as quickly as possible.
“Some of the players didn’t make the effort today to get back to help out in defence because this a team sport and as a team, we paid for that lack of teamwork and effort.”