News Singapore Premier League • May 24, 2018
Singapore Premier League Preview: Home aim to get back on title trail against DPMM
Faritz Hameed wants Home United FC to start seeing out league games.
SINGAPORE, 24 MAY 2018 – Title aspirants Home United FC will be looking to end a three-game win-less streak when they host rejuvenated Brunei DPMM FC at Bishan Stadium on Saturday night, 26 May. The Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) match will kick off at 8.30pm.
BACKGROUND It has been a peculiar season so far for Home. The Protectors have enthralled many with their AFC Cup exploits after making a second successive zonal final against all odds, yet they find themselves languishing sixth in the SPL with just eight points from seven games.
Their record of two wins, two draws and three defeats is identical to their start in a disappointing 2016 campaign – in which they eventually finished fourth.
Their attacking prowess is not in question, having scored in all 15 games in all competitions this season. It is at the other end where they need some shoring up as they have the joint-worst defensive record in the SPL along with Geylang International FC, having conceded 20 times.
In their last three league games, Aidil Sharin’s men have failed to see out matters from winning positions – Hougang United FC came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3, Warriors FC did likewise from 2-1 and 3-2 down in another 3-3 draw and Balestier Khalsa FC scored two late goals to win 2-1.
Protectors defender Faritz Hameed acknowledged the need to improve defensively, with hopes of a first league championship since 2003 fast evaporating as they are now 19 points off runaway leaders and reigning champions Albirex – albeit with two games in hand.
“It’s really disappointing to lose points when we dominate most parts of the game(s),” the 28-year-old said. “We can’t blame it (our form) on fatigue because we know how our schedule is like with AFC Cup games.
“It’s a matter of showing up for every game we play. Hopefully from now on, we can close out the games and get the results we desire. It’s important now that we focus on ourselves and win every game that is in front of us; we don’t have to see where Albirex or other teams are at the moment.”
The Protectors are looking to avoid a fourth straight SPL game without a win – something which has not happened since June 2016. However the three points will not come easy against a DPMM side that looks revitalized under former Brazil Under-20 coach Rene Weber.
The Wasps have not lost in their last four matches, coming from behind in three of those – from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Warriors FC, from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against Balestier and from 1-0 down to draw 1-1 against Young Lions – as they sit in three with 11 points from six.
Expectations have risen at the Sultanate though, with Scottish defender Brian McLean emphasizing on getting back to basics for DPMM to mount a serious title challenge.
“It was a fair result (for Wednesday night’s draw against Young Lions, we didn’t really create enough opportunities for ourselves to score,” said the 33-year-old.
“We are the masters of complicating things instead of doing the simple things well. Now we just need to focus on the recovery and get our mentality right for this tough, tough game (against Home).”
History is against the Wasps, having not won in regulation time in six visits to Bishan Stadium since returning to the SPL in 2012. Their only win there came in that year’s League Cup quarter-finals, as they prevailed 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.
TEAM NEWS Home will have to contend without M. Anumanthan as the defensive hard man will serve a one-match suspension for his dismissal against Balestier. Utility man Fazli Ayob is out for around three months due to torn ankle ligaments sustained in the 3-1 AFC Cup zonal semi-final second leg victory against Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta.
Shahril Ishak, Shakir Hamzah, Juma’at Jantan and Aqhari Abdullah should return to the lineup after being rested the last time out.
As for DPMM, Iranian forward Mojtaba Mollasaraei is a doubt after missing the Young Lions game through injury.
07/04/18: DPMM 4-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
08/09/17: DPMM 1-4 Home – Singapore Premier League
16/08/17: Home 3-1 DPMM – Singapore Cup
13/08/17: DPMM 1-3 Home – Singapore Cup
25/05/17: Home 9-3 DPMM – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Song Ui-Young – Home
Song has brought his game to another level in his seventh season in Singapore, with 11 goals and two assists in all competitions and he is still only 24. The DPMM defence will be in for a long night if they do not deal with the South Korean’s intelligent late runs into the box.
Adi Said – DPMM
Much of the plaudits for the Wasps’ revival have gone to the free-scoring front man Volodymyr Priyomov, but the efforts of Adi ought to be lauded as well. The 27-year-old is a big threat in the attacking third with his pace and has the knack of scoring important goals – a classic example being the late equaliser against Young Lions in their last game.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Home defender Faritz: “The last time we faced DPMM was their first game in the SPL. They have plenty of new players and were hungry to get the points. They’re a hardworking team and have a good Ukrainian target man (Priyomov) who’s in good form; he has a similar style of play to (Persija’s) Marko Simic, so the key is to stop the supply to him and try to keep him away from our goal.”
DPMM defender McLean: “We are in the midst of a tough run of away games, but you can’t use it as a negative because that’s the fixtures dealt to us. No doubt Home’s a quality team and that’s why they’re in the AFC Cup Zonal final. But it’s up to us to replicate the way we played against them at home earlier in the season and give them a good fight.”
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