|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Home United brushed aside the Courts Young Lions 2-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening to walk home with three points, notching their fifth victory in the last seven games to climb into fourth place.
Goals from Lee Kwan Woo and Hafiz Rahim in either half settled the score for the Protectors, although it could have easily been more than that had it not been for some stellar defending from Afiq Yunos.
Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar did not really seem unhappy with his team’s 10th defeat of the season after the game, choosing to acknowledge their efforts.
“I feel sorry for the boys, they did well and tried their best but were unfortunate," he said.
"We were unfortunate not to collect a point from today. We were, however, playing with constraint. We were missing our left-back and captain but the boys still did their best.
“I was also proud that the boys were giving it all their best even in the last 10 minutes. They definitely did not disappoint."
The former Singapore centreback was in particular pleased with Afiq’s contribution.
“I feel very happy for Afiq [as] he has finally gotten his clearance and will be available to us from now on," Aide said.
“The way he played really surprised me as he did not train with for the past three days and it was a good game for him."
Home coach Lee Lim Saeng remained calm despite the win and explained the need for his team to keep their feet on the ground for the remainder of the season.
“I am definitely happy with three points [which was achieved] all thanks to our players' efforts," he praised.
"However, we still have many games for the season and I do not want my players to get overconfident. We must remain humble."
The Korean then explained why he took off goalscorer Lee Kwan Woo and full-back Juma'at Jantan, who was making his first start of the season.
“[Lee] Kwan Woo has fluid in his knee and the doctor had advised to rest him," Lee revealed.
"So after he scored his goal, I took him out to protect him [from injury]. After today, he will be going for a second opinion and I believe he should be okay with more rest.
“As for Juma'at, he had already played 15 minutes in the previous match and said that he wanted to start today. At the last minute, he mentioned about not feeling too good and I had to protect him as well, so I took him out in the second half."
Lee also displayed empathy for his opposition, who remain without a point so far.
“It is not easy for their coach to work with a team of young players," he pointed out.
"I have to commend that the players do their best in every match and credit goes to them for giving a fight. I hope they get their first three points real soon."
The Young Lions will next welcome Geylang International at the Jalan Besar Stadium, while Home will travel north-east to enter Hougang United’s den.