After his side's elimination by the rivals SAF FC, the Protectors' second in command conceded they had been bested over the two legs by a better teamAfter seeing his team pegged back twice to eventually be held to a 3-3 draw, resulting in their overall elimination from the Singapore Cup, Home United assistant coach Baek Jong Seok conceded that SAFFC were the better team.
“They made chances and got the goals and showed a lot of good defending [as well]," conceded the Korean.
"Overall, performance-wise, they were better.”
When quizzed about the decision to throw 19-year old Prime League forward Song Yi Young into the thick of action for his debut, Baek admitted that it was not an easy decision to make.
“He just came back three weeks ago [from injury] and started to train; we checked his stamina and quality during training and we were sure he could do it, which was why we put him in place of Ihata," he explained.
“We thought of putting him in just for the first forty-five minutes, after which we were going to make a change, but his performance in the first half was good enough for head coach (Lee Lim Saeng).
"Unfortunately, he made a mistake, which was unlucky.”
SAFFC assistant coach V. Selvaraj was delighted with his team’s qualification and also highlighted the importance of head coach Richard Bok’s instructions in the win.
“I am very happy with the effort which the boys showed," said the former Singapore international.
"We worked really hard in training, we prepared them well for this game. I enforced a lot of simple details in defending and attacking and they managed to carry that out.
“Credit should go to him (Bok); although he is not here, I have been in touch with him and he has been guiding me and giving me feedback.”
He said that the key to their triumph was defending as a team, in addition to being clinical in front of goal.
“Although we conceded three goals, my midfield worked very hard and ran tirelessly, especially Shimpei (Sakurada) and Shukor (Zailan)," he continued.
"The other thing is that we converted the chances we created; we had more chances at Bishan compared to Home but we just couldn’t finish them. In this game, we managed to do so.”
Ahead of the league match against the same opponents on Thursday, the Selvaraj expressed some concern at the way his team lost focus, which allowed Home to score thrice.
“They scored immediately after we did; we just lost concentration and that is one thing I need to work on," he said.
"It has happened a few times in the league, so we just cannot lose concentration, especially against a team like Home; one lapse, and we will be punished.”
He also warned that their opponents in the semi-final will not be any pushovers, citing the good form of Gombak as a reason.
“Gombak are a tough team, full of fighters who never give up," he said of the struggling league side.
"Defensively, it is not easy to crack them. We will have a plan and we will treat that game as even more important.
"We must let the boys know we must work even harder, because any team that is in the semi-final is not an easy team to play against.”