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  • August 26, 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore

Indra inspires Protectors in mauling of Young Tigers

Indra inspires Protectors in mauling of Young Tigers

Stanford Sng

The 34-year-old struck two well-taken goals to double his tally for the season as his team cruised to victory in a game they dominated to climb to third spot

Home United took Harimau Muda to the cleaners with a 4-0 thrashing on Monday night and could have scored more in a game where their superiority was clear.

With only three points separating both sides before the game, the win also saw the uniformed giants virtually seal a place in the top six as they moved to third in the table.

The young Malaysian side were not helped by injuries to 10 players, as well as the absence of star winger Ridzuan Abdunloh.

It was no surprise the Protectors dominated possession from the start against their weakened opponents, but they struggled to fashion clear opportunities.

Star midfielder Lee Kwan Woo came closest when a vicious freekick was well dealt with by goalkeeper Ramdhan Hamid in the 27th minute, briefly raising the pulses of the supporters.

It took the Young Tigers 38 minutes to get a shot on target, Akmal Ishak’s 25-yard grounder safely gathered by Home custodian Shahril Jantan.

In between those events, Canadian winger Jordan Webb replaced right-back Ismail Yunos, who had to be stretchered off near the half-hour mark.

That saw Home coach Lee Lim Saeng reshuffle his players as lone striker Masrezwan Masturi dropped into defense, while left winger Indra Sahdan took his place upfront.

It proved to be a good move when Home finally found a breakthrough in the 42nd minute.

Lee, who was pulling all the strings in a classy display, chipped a brilliant ball over the top for Indra, who had made a superb run from deep. With the Harimau Muda defense caught flat-footed, the Singapore international smashed a stunning first-time effort into the top corner.

Home did not let up after the break and the same player doubled the lead in the 53rd minute.

Firdaus Idros dropped a shoulder and jinked past his man on the right before whipping in a low ball that Indra promptly smacked into the bottom corner.

Ramdhan then did well to block Juma’at Jantan’s shot in the 64th minute after the left-back was sent clear by a clever pass from Hafiz Rahim. The rebound fell to Indra, whose attempted chip over S. Vikneswaran on the line was headed away by the recovering defender to deny him the hat-trick.

The Home onslaught did not abate and it was 3-0 in the 73rd minute when Lee played yet another lovely pass for Webb run on to, the substitute blasting a fine attempt past a flailing Ramdhan.

Webb could have gotten a brace himself but prodded a shot just wide at the near post after a smart one-two with Hafiz.

He then played a part in Home’s fourth, cleverly lobbing Ramdhan from out wide on the far left after being forced wide by the goalkeeper initially. Skipper Wan Ahmad Amirzafran raced back to clear but could only send the ball against the late-arriving Osman Yusoff, as both watched in agony while it flew back into the net.

Despite the rest of his teammates doing their best to set him up, Indra saw his final opportunity to bring home the match ball slammed shut when Vikneswaran produced another goal-line clearance.

The 34-year-old had taken Webb’s slide-rule pass in his stride and rounded Ramdhan in the area, but his hurriedly-taken shot from an angle was scrambled off the line by the right-back.

That would have disappointed the striker, but not by much as smiles broke out all round the Home players and staff when the final whistle sounded the end of a one-sided victory.