|FROM BISHAN STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Although Home United dominated their match against Woodlands Wellington on Tuesday night, it was the away side who walked away with all three points to register their first win of the season.
A goalkeeping error from Home custodian Jang Hong Won gifted Rosman Sulaiman his first goal of the season before Khalid Hamdaoui scored a cracking goal for his third goals in as many games to seal victory.
To compound matters, Home strikers Indra Sahdan and Masato Fukui were sent off in the final ten minutes, along with Woodlands forward Moon Soon Ho.
It was a dejected Lee Lim Saeng who faced the media at the post-match press conference, after watching his team slump to their second defeat in theor first three games of the season.
“The first goal we conceded was a silly mistake, especially after we were dominating," the Home coach pointed out. "I think the 2nd goal was difficult for Shahril to carve out a save from.
"I think I can’t sleep tonight [because I will be] thinking about the match."
The Korean admitted that while his side are able to dominate possession, they lack the crucial final pass in the attacking third.
“We need more concentration and we need more accurate passes and crosses in the attacking third; our last pass seems to be the problem [and a strong] mentality is also important," Lee explained.
Meanwhile, his counterpart, Woodlands coach Salim Moin, walked into the room in a buoyant mood as he basked in the glow of his side's first win of the season.
“I was not really surprised by the outcome," he proclaimed. "It was a good game and the boys were full of enthusiasm and desire to win the match; that was very evident in the second half."
The Rams coach also believed that former Protectors man Rosman Sulaiman had extra motivation coming into this game.
“Rosman was probably inspired to play well against his former team and that is always an additional boost for us," Salim said, before cheekily suggesting that the defender's fluke goal might have been intended after all.
"He had a good performance today and he scored a fantastic goal! After all, he knows Bishan Stadium better than I do, especially the wind changes!"
Salim also praised the colossal display by centreback Shariff Samat, who made his first appearance this season.
“It was a good game for Shariff," he acknowledged. "It has been some time since he played a competitive game; I spoke to him beforehand, and he was filled with desire to start this match.
“I have to take my hats off to him for his goal-line clearance. Had that goal went in, it would have been a totally different outcome for the match. I would say that his clearance was the turning point of the game."
Salim also downplayed his side's reliance on Hamdaoui, but admitted that the former Ajax man's experience had benefitted the rest of the players.
“He was fantastic and his goal was class," he said. “However, my team does not only depend on Khalid. My team depends on everyone in the team.
"I have players who are ready to come into the same position as Khalid, should Khalid not be able to play some day.
“He constantly talks to the team to make sure the players are on their toes. It is a good use of his experience to influence the team and we all know that if a player comes from Ajax, he is special. They have produced great footballers in the past decades.”
The Woodlands coach then ended his post-match conference with a personal plea for the club's supporters to come out in force for their next game.
“I want to encourage and invite Woodlands fans to come down and watch the match against Hougang [United] as we have prizes amounting to $10, 000 to be given away,” he urged.
Woodlands Wellington will next face Hougang at Jalan Besar Stadium, while Home will travel to Queenstown to take on high-flying Tanjong Pagar United.