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Churchill Brothers' rivals in the AFC Cup: Home United

Churchill Brothers' rivals in the AFC Cup: Home United

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The Goan outfit play host to the Singaporean side in an important Group E encounter on Tuesday...

 Arjun V Namboothiri
 FEATURE | India
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Churchill Brothers shall face Singapore's Home United in an AFC Cup group E clash on Tuesday evening at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa. Only a point is separating the top three sides and gameweek three could probably give an indication as to which direction the cluster is headed.

The Goan giants enter the game on the back of a comfortable victory over Maldivian champions, New Radiant on March 11, 2014. 

In this piece, we put together all that you need to know on Singapore's Home United.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Home United are a professional football club from Singapore’s S-League. They finished second in the league last season, only behind eventual champions Tampines Rovers, who managed to get five points more than them. They however won the Singapore Cup and made it to the quarter-final of the Singapore League Cup as well.

Home United coach Lee Lim Saeng is a huge advocate of fitness and hence they are probably one of the fittest in the S-League. They work very well as a unit and usually deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation with two holding midfielders protecting the back four.

They like to play short passes and usually employ a patient build-up play to try and unlock the opponent's defense. Lee Kwan Woo and Yasir Hanapi are key to Lee Lim Saeng’s men as these two are usually the players who give defense splitting passes to the lone striker forward.

Their weakness lies in the massive injury crisis, with up to eight first team men injured. The situation is so bad that they had only three outfield players in their substitute’s bench in their recent game. Because of that, the team also looks visibly tired, especially with the run of back-to-back games that they will be playing. It doesn't help that the players are facing a long and arduous trip to India, which may include a nine-hour transit waiting time.

STANDARD FORMATION

The probable line-up:

Shahril Jantan
Juma'at Jantan (c) - Sirina Camara - Precious Emuejeraye - Ismail Yunos
Kwon Dakyung - Izzdin Shafiq
Yasir Hanapi - Lee Kwan Woo - Fazli Ayob
Qiu Li

The full-backs would usually make forward runs and look to exploit the flanks as much as possible. They have two defensive midfielders to protect their backline, namely Korean Kwon Dakyung and Izzdin Shafiq. Izzdin likes to get forward at times too, and has scored a goal already this season. Their creative trio just behind the striker are the ones that try to make something happen in the final third of the pitch. Usually it's Lee Kwan Woo who orchestrates things from the middle while Fazli Ayob and Yasir Hanapi would use of the flanks to make space and create openings for the team from out wide. The team also likes to employ a single target-man to hold the ball and bury the chances when the ball is being crossed into the penalty box

LEAGUE FORM

With injuries to most of their first team players, their league campaign has not started on a bright note with two defeats and one win from the three games they have played so far.

They were unlucky to lose the opening game of the season to defending champions Tampines Rovers 1-0. They dominated the game, created a host of chances but their finishing in the final third let them down. Lee Kwan Woo impressed in their second game with three assists to his name as Home United ran out 4-1 winners against Geylang International.

With fatigue playing a big part, they were thumped 3-0 by league leaders Brunei DPMM which was not a good sign for a team who are one of the title contenders.

KEY PLAYERS


Lee Kwan Woo, 36, Midfielder

The former South Korean international is a class act and is undoubtedly the team's best player. He won the Player of the Year last season in his debut campaign in Singapore, lighting up the league with his killer passes and superb close control. Apart from playmaking, Lee is also a set-piece specialist and has an eye for goal as well.

Sirina Camara, 22, Defender

The S-League's Young Player of the Year last season, Camara has improved his game by leaps and bounds since joining the Protectors, also in 2013. From being primarily a left-back, he was slotted into central defense and figured there for most of the season, making the spot his own with some stellar performances. He is also capable of playing on the left flank as well and is a threat from free-kicks. The Frenchman is a solid and pacey defender but can be prone to overcomplicating things by playing his way out of trouble instead of clearing the ball.

Qiu Li, 32, Forward

On his day, Qiu Li can be a world beater. He makes intelligent runs, and his sudden burst of speed can trouble defenses. He can hold the ball to bring other players into the game, and links up well with Lee Kwan Woo especially. He knows how to get fouls when opponents get too close, especially around the penalty box. But he has also been widely criticised for his laziness at times.

AFC CUP FORM

They find themselves at the bottom of the table with a defeat and a draw to their name so far. They lost their first game 1-0 to New Radiant, Maldives as they just couldn’t find the equaliser to level the game. They were extremely unlucky in their last game against Persipura Jayapura where they gave away a 1-0 lead, in a game which was completely dominated by them. Qiu Li had 5-to-6 shots at goal, Izzdin had a one-on-one opportunity, but their finishing was woeful as Persipura scored an equalizing goal to knock the stockings out of Home United which eventually meant they had lost two important points.

Their best performance in the AFC Cup came in 2004 when they reached the semi-finals and lost to eventual champions, Al-Jaish of Syria. It must also be noted that in six appearances in the AFC Cup, only once have they not made it into the knockout stages.

 

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