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At first, Home shredded apart Albirex before switched off in second

This entry supports #mysleagueticket (source)
A small hiccup in the second minute that saw Kazuya Okazaki notched in the early lead for Albirex Niigata (Singapore) did not cause much distress to Home United as the latter eventually sealed the game 4-2 at the Bishan Stadium in a mixed outcome.

The win by the defending Singapore Cup holders had leapfrogged them over the Japanese club in the league standings by placing themselves on the third spot with merely three points away from league leaders Brunei DPMM who suffered an almost frightening experience by scraping away with a 3-3 draw against Balestier Khalsa in another fixture of the night.

The home team gradually got their act together with a kind of football that seems to flow on the ground effortlessly in front of national coach Bernd Stange, who mentioned earlier in a report that the core of the AFF Suzuki Cup would be from the 41 players he brought to the Austrian training trip "unless there’s a player who is shining in the S.League".

Judging from the kind of performance in the first half, at least, he should give Fazli Ayob another shot for the Lions' call-up for that audacious shot from outside that hit the top corner of the back of the net to give Home the 4-1 lead before the interval.

Lee Kwan Woo (middle) netted a double (file picture)
Prior to the stunner by the former Lions XII midfider, the game was levelled by Korean playmaker Lee Kwan Woo in the 14th minute with a free-kick that riveted through the wall of the White Swan before striker Fazrul Nawaz gave them the lead in the 19th minute.

An unmarked Lee made it 3-1 at the half hour mark amid a shredded Albirex's defensive line from inside the box.

A much improved second half performance by the Japanese side kept the scoreline as the way it was with them easing in the deficit in the process in the 73rd with a header from Kazuki Sakamoto.

Acknowledged the shortcomings of their first half display in the post match press conference, Albirex's coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama said:"We did not play well in the first half and got this result, as we kept our defence line too low,

"At half time, I told my players to prevent Home United from scoring goals by pushing up the defence line and tried to catch them in the process and I didn't expect such a performance in the first half, which we could have done better."

It was a stark contrast that sums up the Protectors' second half game with the effective execution of the tactics by Coach Okuyama to limit the penetration from the home side.

Said Home United coach Lee Lim Saeng:"In the second half, the opponents pushed us that we could not score and it's also something we must keep improving like learning to hold the ball for a long period,

"But it was a deserving win for us, however, we must be humble at this stage given that we are still in the title race with every match is important to us."

Following this win, Home United are slated to take on their arch-rivals Warriors FC in their next match on this Sunday with Albirex are squaring off against the defending league champions Tampines Rovers on the following day.


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