The Protectors have only one point from three matches in Group E so far and desperately need a victory to keep their flagging hopes of qualification alive
The Protectors have one draw from their three Group E matches and need nothing less than victory to keep their hopes of progressing to the next round alive when they face Churchill Brothers on Wednesday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The I-League side beat Home 3-1 in their last game two weeks ago and coach Lee Lim Saeng is aware there cannot be a repeat of such a result.
"I think tomorrow's match is [like] a final - that means we must get three points, so we will do our best," he acknowledged during the pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The Korean believes his side, currently sixth in the S.League after a mixed start to the season, have been affected hugely by injuries but is confident they will start to improve as the players return.
"We did well in pre-season in Kunming that time, so I was confident with the players but suddenly we had injuries so we struggled in the league and AFC Cup," Lee explained. "I think the injured players are coming back slowly, so I think we will get better [and can] show our strengths.
"We have our own style, as we prepared in the pre-season tour. Unfortunately we haven’t shown that in the AFC Cup, so I believe we will show it tomorrow."
Captain Juma'at Jantan also termed the match as a "must-win" one and stressed the need to take advantage of playing at home tomorrow night, as well as against New Radiant on April 9.
"We must collect all the maximum points, especially on our home ground, because playing away is not that easy, especially in Persipura Jayapura, even though we drew with them 1-1," he said.
Churchill coach Mariano Dias is wary of Home despite the victory a fortnight ago, especially as their three import players - Christian Lagos, Anthony Wolfe (both injured), Abdelhamid Shabana (suspended) - did not travel.
"Playing Home United in [their] home, it will be very difficult for us," he said. "The team is good, we have seen them play. We have come without two , three main regular players, so things may change at home for Home United but I am sure that we will give our best to play well."
Defender Denzil Franco dismissed concerns over playing on artificial turf - a source of complaints for many away teams - and expressed hope that their good showings in the AFC Cup thus far will translate over to the I-League, where Churchill are second from bottom with five more games left.
"I am confident but not overconfident," he said. "Whatever we have, we are going to give it, we will do our best. The mood is not so good at all [in the dressing room] as we are not doing that good in the I-League; we are doing quite well in the AFC Cup, so we want to really get it (both) on par, the way it’s going on in the AFC Cup and in the I-League."
The Protectors can at least be boosted by the form of returning forward Fazrul Nawaz, who has scored thrice in his last two games, and Lee called on his players to show "heart" in the crunch tie.
"There is no choice, we must win tomorrow match," he declared. "We are bottom of the group but we still have hope; nothing is impossible."