News • July 7, 2017

The New Paper League Cup 2017: Ciolacu-Led Warriors Come From Behind To Beat Home


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Andrei-Cosmin Ciolacu struck a hat-trick as Warriors FC edged Home United 4-3 in a thrilling affair in their The New Paper League Cup Group A opener at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Friday night.

The result took Razif Onn’s side to the top after Hougang United and Albirex Niigata (S) played out a goalless draw in the other group match played on the same day.

Home got off to a flying start after six minutes as Stipe Plazibat got onto the end of Faris Ramli’s knockdown before firing into Hyrulnizam Juma’at’s near post for the lead.

Shaiful Esah could have levelled matters five minutes after the opener but his 20-yard freekick flew the wrong side of the post.

They were made to rue that miss as the Protectors duly doubled their advantage with a quarter of an hour into the match, with Iqram bundling home Faris’ cutback from close range.

Warriors would however pull one back from the spot on the 22nd minute as Ciolacu – who missed a penalty against Brunei DPMM in their Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League match – sent Rudy Khairullah the wrong way from six yards for his first goal in Warriors colours.

Fadhil Noh who started on the right flank for Warriors, then came close minutes later but his effort from the edge of the area sailed narrowly over the bar.

The Protectors would go 3-1 up in the 34th minute as skipper Hariss Harun made no mistake from the spot after Iqram was brought down by Warriors goalkeeper Hyrulnizam in the penalty area.

With moments remaining in the first-half, Hafiz Osman was then denied by Rudy at point-blank after Home failed to clear their lines from a freekick.

Whatever Razif said at the break seemed to fire up his boys as they came out with renewed vigour and confidence.

An unmarked Ciolacu headed wide off Emmeric Ong’s cross in the 58th minute before the former had his effort parried by Rudy moments later.

There was no denying the Romanian however, as he reduced the deficit in the 64th minute.

Taking down Ong’s throw-in, Ciolacu spun his marker before hitting an overhead kick from an acute angle over a hapless Rudy to give the hosts a glimmer of hope.

Ciolacu completed his hat-trick just four minutes later when his harmless shot was spilled by Rudy as the loose ball trickled into an empty net for 3-3.

Webb sealed the victory for Warriors 14 minutes from time, slotting home from close range after Kento Fukuda had knocked down Shaiful’s freekick into his path.

Warriors were reduced to ten men in the 79th minute after midfielder Fazli Jaffar was sent off for a second bookable offence.

It prompted Home to go for broke and they had an opportunity to pull level but Hyrulnizam was alert to push Faris’ effort over the bar.

Substitute Khairul Nizam then capitalised on a defensive mix-up in the dying moments but somehow poked over from three yards as Warriors hung on for a vital victory.

Home will look to bounce back when they take on Hougang United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday in their next Group A match while Warriors face defending champions Albirex on the same day.

Warriors FC Head Coach Razif Onn: “It was a good win for us tonight. I didn’t say anything special to the boys at half-time, they just went out there to do their usual job.

“We took Home seriously, as they are the AFC Cup Asean Zone Finalists and are in the league. Down by 3-1, Andrei proved himself today and I’m glad for him. I hope he can score more goals in time to come.”

Home United Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “Yes I’m worried but I hope the team can learn from this. Instead of dwelling on the result and pointing fingers at each other, I hope the boys will come back stronger from this.

“After conceding two soft goals, we were left wondering what happened especially when we were the more superior team with better control of the game but that’s football.

“I was happy with Iqram’s performance today; he created one and score another. That said, I believe he can do better than today.”

Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Emmeric Ong, Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Osman, Ho Wai Loon (Zulfadli Zainal 90’), Jordan Webb, Shaiful Esah, Poh Yi Feng (Firdaus Kasman 81’), Fazli Jaffar, Fadhil Noh, Andrei-Cosmin Ciolacu

Home United: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Juma’at Jantan (Khairul Shari 38’), Haziq Azman, Afiq Yunos, Sirina Camara, Iqram Rifqi (Syed Firdaus 68’), Hariss Harun (C), Izzdin Shafiq, Sufianto Salleh, Faris Ramli, Stipe Plazibat (Khairul Nizam 61’)