Home United finally notched their first victory in four AFC Cup games with a Wednesday evening with a 2-1 victory over Churchill Brothers, but coach Lee Lim Saeng insisted after the game that his team can improve further.
Strikers Fazrul Nawaz and Indra Sahdan netted to ensure Precious Emuejeraye’s freak own goal did not matter in the end at Jalan Besar Stadium, giving the Protectors three crucial points in their Group E clash.
But the S.League side should have won by a bigger margin as they dominated from start to finish and Lee called on his players to do better at the post-match press conference.
“I am happy to see my players’ effort, but we need to improve more [in terms of] finishing, connecting the ball and the support between defence and attack,” he pointed out.
“We tried [playing] attacking football for 90 minutes... we tried our best and hopefully we can show that constantly (consistently).”
The Korean also reserved praise for Indra, who made his first appearance since suffering a horror leg-break while playing for Singapore in a friendly against Hong Kong in September last year.
“I am happy to see Indra because he scored after his long injury,” Lee stated. “Fazrul has also already come back and contributed to the team. I am very happy to see them because it can be (mean) healthy competition amongst the players; we need healthy competition in the team so that we can improve.”
Churchill coach Mariano Dias graciously stated that Home were the better side, but was satisfied with his players’ efforts under trying circumstances.
“Actually I think the match would have gone (ended in) a draw if our defence did not commit mistakes, but I think Home was much superior than us,” he said. “We were without three of our regular guys (Christian Lagos, Abdelhamid Shabana, Anthony Wolfe) and because we are playing in the I-League… so that takes a lot of energy out of us.
"Our players tried to give our best but since we didn’t have our regular players, we could not try much better.”
Dias still believes Churchill are in a better position to advance, with his side on six points in second, four behind leaders Persipura Jayapura with two games left. Home are third on four points while New Radiant are bottom with three.
“We have more of an advantage… We have two matches, one at home against Persipura and one in Maldives, so we still have the chance [to progress],” he pointed out.
Lee preferred to remain coy over his side’s chances, insisting it was still too early to judge.“I think we need to [take things] step by step; we must get three points against New Radiant, so then after that I can say (talk) about it,” he said.
Home will face New Radiant at the Jalan Besar Stadium next Wednesday, April 9, while Churchill host Persipura on the same night.