Home United vs Brunei DPMM: Protectors eye fourth straight win

S.League | Bishan Stadium | Thurs 19 May | 7.30pm 

Billed as

A battle for third place.

The lowdown

Home United Form

  • 13/05/16 Tampines Rovers 1-2 Home (S.League)
  • 29/04/16 Home 3-2 Hougang United (S.League)
  • 22/04/16 Warriors FC 1-2 Home (S.League)
  • 15/04/16 Geylang International 2-2 Home (S.League)
  • 08/04/16 Home 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)

 

Brunei DPMM Form

  • 14/05/16 DPMM 3-2 Hougang United (S.League)
  • 05/05/16 Warriors FC 1-1 DPMM (S.League)
  • 30/04/16 DPMM 1-2 Geylang International (S.League)
  • 22/04/16 DPMM 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • 15/04/16 DPMM 3-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)

 

Home United are on a bit of a roll here. Victory over Tampines Rovers last time out was their third straight success in the S.League and their confidence should be at a good place now after a limp start to the season.

Pleasingly, there was also a solid defensive performance in that match and this sets the Protectors up for a fourth successive win here against the defending champions. As a further incentive, garnering three points will see them displace Brunei DPMM from third place.

A draw will keep the visitors in that spot, but one can be sure they will not be settling for a mere point. Having gotten back to winning ways against Hougang United last week, the Wasps will be keen to build on that in what has been a stop-start season so far.

Already eight points behind leaders Albirex Niigata (S) and having played one game more, the Bruneian side cannot afford to drop any more points if they want to retain their crown.

Team news

Defenders Ang Zhi Wei and R. Aaravin continue to sit this out for Home, as will young forward Nur Hizami Salim. Midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin remains a doubt, although striker Khairul Nizam could yet recover in time to play a part.

DPMM will miss defender Sairol Sahari and a suspended Paulo Sergio, but otherwise should have the full squad at their disposal.

Key Battle: Juma’at Jantan vs Shahrazen Said

Home captain Juma’at Jantan has carried over his fine form from last season and has been a solid fixture at right-back.

The 32-year-old is galloping up and down his flank throughout 90 minutes every game and was one of the best-performing Protectors in their last game, popping up with a beautiful cross for the equaliser and shutting down Tampines’ attacks down the left.

Juma'at will be tasked with locking Paulo Sergio down

The Singapore international will need to draw on all his experience and nous to deal with Shaharazen Said, who has come off the bench and made some vital contributions in his last game.

The speedy forward will be a handful for any defender to mark, and he might be the key to a DPMM victory here.

The Coaches

It took a while, but the brand of football that Philippe Aw has preached at Home has finally manifested on the pitch this season. Sharp, quick passing combinations are a main feature in their play, which makes them devastating on the break. The Protectors are starting to finish off their chances now and if they can keep things tight at the back, it is hard to cope with them.

DPMM’s troubles this season are perhaps similar to their opponents, with head coach Steve Kean lamenting his side’s inability to put away the truckload of opportunities they create in every game.

The Scot relies on the offensive trio of Sergio, Azwan Ali and last season’s Golden Boot winner Rafael Ramazotti, who is yet to properly fire. At the back, the loss of Boris Raspudic has left a big hole that doesn’t appear to have been adequately filled.

Past five meetings

  • 11/03/16 DPMM 2-1 Home (S.League)
  • 24/11/15 Home 2-0 DPMM (SG Cup)
  • 17/10/15 DPMM 4-4 Home (S.League)
  • 02/10/15 DPMM 3-2 Home (SG Cup)
  • 22/07/15 Home 0-0 DPMM (S.League)

 

Facts and Figures

  • Ken Ilsø has scored once in each of his last four games for Home and has six goals in his last seven.

  • The last time Home won four league games in a row was in October 2013.

  • DPMM has scored three times in the first ten minutes, the most in the league so far. Home is one of four teams not to have conceded in that timeframe.

  • Paulo Sergio has seven assists for DPMM so far, just one short of his overall league tally from last season.

  • Both of Shahrazen Said’s goals for DPMM this season have come as a substitute.

FourFourTwo prediction

Home are getting into the groove and they should have enough to do it again here. 2-0.

Photos: S.League