Match Previews

Home United vs Garena Young Lions: Uniformed giants still in hunt for AFC Cup spot


S.League | Bishan Stadium | Fri 30 Sept | 7.30pm 

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A good opportunity for Home to get back to winning ways.

The lowdown

Home Form

  • Brunei DPMM 3-1 Home (S.League)
  • Home 1-0 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
  • Hougang United 4-2 Home (S.League)
  • Home 3-0 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Brunei DPMM 1-0 Home (League Cup)

Young Lions Form

  • Brunei DPMM 5-3 Young Lions (S.League)
  • Young Lions 0-2 Hougang United (S.League)
  • Warriors FC 5-2 Young Lions (S.League)
  • Young Lions 0-2 Geylang International (S.League)
  • Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Young Lions (S.League)

The Protectors still have a chance to qualify for the AFC Cup next year as they are only three points behind Hougang United, who are the second-highest ranked local team in the S.League.

With Geylang International also in the mix, that coveted continental slot is really still up for grabs with four games left to go and sealing it would help soften the blow of what has been an otherwise limp campaign for Home.

The uniformed giants were expected to challenge for the title but a poor start and a lacklustre mid-season resulted in them bowing out of contention long before the business end of the season, as they languish in fifth spot now.

Dumped out of both Cups as well, they will look to bounce back from a 3-1 loss away to Brunei DPMM last week when they take on the Garena Young Lions.

Three points will be imperative to keep up the chase for the AFC Cup and Home should be confident at Bishan Stadium, having won their last two games there without conceding.

Their opponents have not tasted victory since May, losing eight of their last 11 games since then and enter this clash on the back of six consecutive defeats.

The developmental side did show spirit in their last game, managing to reduce the deficit to 4-3 after trailing 4-0 initially to DPMM. But spirit has not been their main problem this year; rather, the absences of players due to a combination of injury and National Service (NS) commitments has made it difficult for them to really gel and get going.

Finishing bottom is a certainty bar a miracle and the Young Lions really have nothing much to play for here apart from pride.

Team News

Home are more or less at full strength, with winger Faris Ramli completing the full 90 minutes in Brunei after making his return from injury two weeks ago against Tampines Rovers. Midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin is likely the only doubt with a groin problem.

Dkukhilan Jeevamani will be available for the Young Lions after serving a one-game suspension and playmaker Adam Swandi is expected to feature after missing the last game due to NS.

Fareez Farhan also made his return from injury in Brunei, though goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad is an injury doubt while centre-back Ashrul Syafeeq has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Key Battle: Faris Ramli vs Rusyaidi Salime


Faris is finally back from injury and he hopes to find back form

The skilful Faris will be raring to go again after a season that has been disrupted by niggling injuries, and also with a view to making the Singapore squad as the AFF Suzuki Cup looms.

The 24-year-old has injected a different attacking dimension to Home’s play whenever he has featured this season and would surely have tallied more than three goals and two assists had he played consistently.

Faris is one of their most lethal offensive weapons and is likely to come up against Rusyaidi Salime, who has been a regular for the Young Lions this year.

In his first S.League season, the 18-year-old has made 20 appearances - the most in the team - and improved with each game at right-back.

One goal and two assists also prove that he can be an asset going forward, though he will have to watch his defensive duties closely here to keep a tight leash on Faris.

The Coaches

Head coach Aidil Sharin has won two and lost two in his first four games and will hope to make it three in the former category.

The former Home midfielder has not been afraid to make his mark, such as handing goalkeeper Eko Pradana his professional debut, and should be instructing his charges to go all out for victory here.

His counterpart Patrick Hesse hasn’t had much joy, though credit has to go to the Frenchman for remaining largely optimistic and always trying to encourage his young side.

He can also point to their 2-2 draw against Home in their previous encounter to show them it is possible to get a result, but they really have to tighten up at the back to have a chance of doing so.

Facts and Figures

Last Five Meetings

  • Young Lions 2-2 Home (S.League, Jun ‘16)
  • Home 4-1 Young Lions (S.League, Mar ‘16)
  • Home 2-1 Young Lions (S.League, Nov ‘15)
  • Young Lions 0-2 Home (S.League, Aug ‘15)
  • Home 0-1 Young Lions (S.League, Apr ‘15)

  • Ken Ilsø has scored in each of his last three games against Young Lions.

  • Home have used three goalkeepers this season - all have conceded at least one penalty each. They have conceded more spot-kicks (six) than any other side.

  • Home is the only team yet to score from outside the box in open play in the league this season.

  • Young Lions have only taken the lead on five occasions this season in the league, at least four less than any other side.

  • They have conceded nine times within the first ten minutes, at least five more than any other side.

  • They are the only team not to have scored from a set-piece in the league.

  • 36 different players have featured in a Young Lions team this season, the most of any side.

FourFourTwo Prediction

The hosts will be raring to take the three points here and it should be a difficult night for the Young Lions. Home to win 3-0.

Photos: S.League