A hard-earned victory by Thailand side Chonburi FC sees Home United lose their lead in Group GChonburi FC added three points to their AFC Cup tally on Wednesday night, taking them to the top of Group G with a workmanlike 1-0 win over Singapore's Home United. Kengne Ludovick grabbed the vital goal, heading home a Therdsak Chaiman cross in the 69th minute.
Although Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul said before the match that the club's talismanic captain Pipob On-mo would play no part in the game, his introduction in the 60th minute paid dividends. While he wasn't directly involved in the decisive goal, Pipob's presence appeared to have a much needed calming effect as nerves were beginning to show prior to his introduction with The Sharks failing to capitalize on chance after chance.
Chonburi had dominated the opening 45 minutes, but failed to convert possession into goals, with Therdsak coming closest when he rattled the woodwork.
During the earlier and latter stages of the second half, it seemed as though Home United were happy to just soak up the pressure in the hope of bagging a fortuitous goal on the break. The S-League side did create a handful of chances, but none seriously tested the Chonburi goalkeeper, Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool. Frederic Mendy held the ball up well enough, while Ihata Shotaro got himself into some useful positions, but the Chonburi defense generally dealt with Home United's limited attacks comfortably.
Ludovick came close to doubling the home side's advantage in the dying minutes with a potent strike that just fizzed wide.
Speaking during the post-match press conference, Home United coach, Lee Lim-Saeng, suggested that The Protectors would fare better in their next fixture on home soil.
Chonburi's coach Withaya bemoaned his team's display in general, noting that they “made too many mistakes” on the left-hand side of the pitch during the first half. Nevertheless, he said he was pleased with the win and happy with the three points.