The Protectors recovered from their setback against Albirex Niigata as three goals in the last 20 minutes saw them thump their uniformed rivals
Home United brushed aside their disappointing defeat to Albirex Niigata last Sunday as they beat Warriors FC 4-1 in an action-packed uniformed derby at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
There were chances galore in the first half as the Protectors took an early lead when Fazrul Nawaz opened the scoring after only 12 minutes, before Hafiz Rahim drew the sides level a few minutes later. Home then dominated the game after the break and could have taken the lead early on, had it not been for Hassan Sunny’s heroics.
Still, the Warriors custodian could only do so much before Indra Sahdan scored his first two league goals and Bruno Castenheira added a fourth in the final 20 minutes to give the Protectors a crucial victory, which took them to fourth in the S.League table.
It took only two minutes for Home to muster their first effort at goal through Qiu Li, whose brilliant 25-yard-effort went just over the bar and marked the start of a frenetic, end-to-end first 45 minutes.
Precious Emuejeraye then came close minutes later but he failed to hook the ball in from a difficult position two yards out after Lee Kwan Woo's corner caused a goalmouth scramble.
Warriors carved an opportunity for themselves on seven minutes after Hafiz intercepted a stray pass from Sirina Camara and tried to lob Shahril Jantan, who managed to tip the ball over the bar.
Home then scored the opener five minutes later when Castanheira’s cross found Indra, whose header was stabbed in by Fazrul from close range as the Warriors back-line appealed in vain for offside.
But their lead did not last long as the Warriors dug deep to draw level. Former Singapore international Daniel Bennett did well to reach the right byline and whip in a low cross, which Hafiz superbly flicked into the net at the near post.
Nicolas Velez came close next near the half hour after being released by Kevin McCann's stunning 60-yard ball, before cutting in and blasting a ferocious effort off the woodwork. Miroslav Pejic then forced Shahril to make a diving save five minutes from time with his 30-yard curler.
Home could have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Kwon Dakyung glanced his header from Lee’s corner came off the bar.
While the first half was a rather even affair, things changed dramatically in the second as the men in red dominated and forced Hassan into a series of fine saves.
On 58 minutes, Qiu controlled Camara's cross before slipping a first-time pass to Fazrul on the right, but Hassan made a tremendous stop to deny the striker.
Hassan was again called into action a few minutes later to make a stunning save from Castanheira, who capitalised on Bennett’s mistake as he raced clear on goal and unleashed a stinging volley.
However, the national goalkeeper was finally beaten 20 minutes from time when Indra neatly placed a curling effort from inside the penalty box beyond the his reach. The striker, who returned from a long-term injury last month, then doubled his tally seven minutes later by slotting in Camara’s square pass from close range.
It was all over by that point and Castanheira capped the win late on, converting the rebound after a sweet counter attacking move saw Hassan parry Fazrul's shot into his path.
Despite the heavy loss, Warriors coach Alex Weaver remained upbeat and was confident his side will bounce back strongly.
“It is very disappointing of course,” he admitted at the post-match press conference.
“We’re much better than that. It’s a developing team, we’re developing together. This is a test that we have to practice if we want to be successful moving forward and I believe that we will do that.
"We’re developing together and we’ll take the rough with the smooth. We’ll bounce back from this for sure.”
Unsurprisingly, Home coach Lee Lim Saeng was pleased with his side’s performance after the victory, which was their biggest one over their rivals since a 4-0 rout in October 2011.
“My players deserve to win the match tonight, I feel very happy,” he said.
“We created many chances and we kept the ball. I think the first half was not bad and we dominated possession, but didn’t create as many chances as we did in the second half.
“But we've just played only 10 games in the league, so I want to be humble because there are still many matches to go.”