Indra Sahdan's second half goal turned out to be the winner as Home United secure a much needed three points which keeps their hopes alive...Home United edged out Churchill Brothers with a vital 2-1 victory in a group E fixture of the AFC Cup at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore on Wednesday. This much needed victory allowed them to move into the third place, just two points behind the Red Machines.
It was stalemate at half time after Fazrul Nawaz's opener in the 25th minute was cancelled out by a Precious Emuejeraye own goal in the very next minute. The match winner came late in the 72nd minute when Indra Sahdan scored to give the home team a vital victory.
Churchill Brothers were missing out on their two strikers upfront with Anthony Wolfe injured and Cristian Lagos absent due to personal reasons. Mariano Dias could only name four substitutes on the bench for the game.
Home United had a injury ridden season themselves, but they welcomed Fazrul Nawaz upfront in attack for this game.
The first half started on a scrappy note with either team not able to control possession. The first real chance fell to the home team when Izzdin Shafiq smashed a half volley over the cross bar.
Churchill attacked in the very next minute when Balwant Singh played the ball for Jason Vales, but the striker's shot wide off the near post
Qiu Li had an opportunity to give his side the lead midway through the first half after latching on to Fazrul’s knock down on the edge of the box, but his volley went straight into Lalit Thapa’s arms.
The home side then finally broke the deadlock when Izzdin Shafiq’s long ball was met by Yasir Hanapi, who headed it back to Fazrul. The former Lions XII striker still had a lot to do, but he side-stepped three Churchill defenders before firing a left-footed shot into the back of the net.
But just as the Protectors celebrated a deserved lead, they were immediately pegged back through a moment of calamitous defending by Precious. The former Singapore international sliced a clearance over goalkeeper Shahril Jantan as he tried to deal with a long punt, with the ball somehow ending in the back of the net to draw the sides level.
The freak goal caught Home off guard as they struggled to regain the upper hand after that. Fazrul did come close on either side of the break but he fired over after he was put clear by Lee Kwan Woo in the first attempt, while Lalit was equal to his effort four minutes after the break.
Home kept mustering chances and it seemed as if their profligacy in front of goal was going to cost them, until Indra’s crucial contribution 18 minutes from time.
The 35-year-old, who had come on as a substitute 20 minutes earlier, received a cutback from Castanheira and took a touch before blasting it into the left corner to cap a memorable return from injury.
Home tried to find a third goal to see the game off, but in the end it wasn’t necessary as they comfortably held on to their lead.