For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

[AFC Cup] Wafered Home salvaged the pride amid hazy haze...

Yasir Hanapi (with ball) scored in the 26th minute
While the 1-1 draw against Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura that might have dented their chance of advancing forward to the next round, it was an improved performance by an S.League club in this round of the AFC Cup group stages with Home United restored the much-needed pride for the Singapore clubs in the second-tier continental club tournament.

The result came after the forgettable 5-0 washout by Hong Kong's Kitchee SC over Tampines Rovers in late February in another group stages match that cast a doubt if any of the Singapore representatives would able to make it to the round of 16 of the competition.

Lee Kwan Woo (13) tussled with Im Junsik
As a team representing the Singapore professional football league, Home United's Korean coach Lee Lim Saeng emphasized his will to do well in the tournament, which he last led the reigning Singapore Cup holders to the octo-finals back in 2012, in spite of the thin squad he is having at his disposal.

Speaking to the media at post-match press conference, the former Korean international said:"Being a representative for the S. League, we are hoping to do well in the AFC Cup,"

"However, I only have 13 players who are fit and that's why I hope there will be no further injuries to my team." added Coach Lee, who had to take out marquee player Lee Kwan Woo in the second half while having to see right-back Ismail Yunos came out a few times to receive treatment on a suspected twisted ankle after using up his substitutes.

Juma'at Jantan (4) rose above to defuse the danger
Eye on the ball in the middle of the park
Under the hazy condition at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the designated hosts started the match on the upper hand by dominating much of the play in the first half, which Persipura's Brazilian coach Jacksen Tiago felt it was the best performance to date by the Protectors in this tournament.

Said the former Geylang United striker:"My team gave too much room to the Home United's midfield and it was difficult for us to catch them in the first half, which I think was their best performance in the AFC Cup so far after watching them on videos."

"But Home United struggled in the second half with both teams got tired and one point from tonight's (last evening) game is good enough for us, although I believe we are still not in our best form that I hope we can play much better next time."

Claiming the possession
Ismail Yunos (8) got ahead of his opponent
The commitment to show improvement after tonight's match was echoed by Coach Lee too.

However, coupled with injuries sustained by several of his key players amid a tight schedule ahead for the Bishan-based club, the 2013's "Coach of The Year" recipient revealed that he may have to tweak his tactics along the way to fit his plan as his team is due to face Brunei DPMM on coming Friday before heading on the road again next week for another AFC Cup match against Churchill Brothers in India.

Persipura Jayapura's coach Jacksen Tiago
Said Coach Lee:"I need to change my game tactics with the tight schedule we have in the S.League and the AFC Cup, but before doing that I need to check on the players individually to decide what the next course of action."

For the record, Home United took the lead in the 26th minute through Yasir Hanapi that was cancelled out in the 74th minute from a strike from Ferinando Pahabol who came on for Ian Kabes in the 57th minute.

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