Home United vs Yadanarbon: Protectors seek win for AFC Cup progression
Home’s chance to seal progression from the AFC Cup group stage.
Home United Form
Hougang United 0-2 Home (S.League)
Than Quang Ninh 4-5 Home (AFC Cup)
Home 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
Home 3-2 Than Quang Ninh (AFC Cup)
Brunei DPMM 1-3 Home (S.League)
Nay Pyi Taw 2-3 Yadanarbon (MNL)
Yangon United 2-1 Yadanarbon (MNL)
Yadanarbon 3-2 Hantharwady United (MNL)
Than Quang Ninh 1-1 Yadanarbon (AFC Cup)
Yadanarbon 2-0 GFA (MNL)
It was raining goals at the My Dinh National Stadium two weeks ago as Home eventually prevailed 5-4 in a nine-goal thriller against Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh.
The result meant the S.League side is now top of Group H with six points from three games, two ahead of nearest challengers Myanmar’s Yadanarbon – who have a game in hand.
The two sides face off next in a crucial match at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, with Home requiring a win to seal top spot in the group and ensure their passage into the ASEAN Zone semi-finals.
A defeat for the Protectors will, however, result in a wait to learn of their fate - with only the best runner-ups from the three ASEAN groups qualifying for the next stage.
It has been a pretty good 2017 for Home so far, as they lost just once out of nine games across two competitions – a 1-0 away defeat to Yadanarbon two months ago (that was also the only game which they failed to score in).
With attackers like Faris Ramli, Stipe Plazibat and Khairul Nizam firing on all cylinders, things are certainly looking up for Aidil Sharin’s men as they sit among the top in S.League standings.
It will be not easy against Yadanarbon though, who have the psychological advantage of beating them previously.
The Myanmar National League (MNL) champions are enjoying a decent year, having lost just twice in 14 competitive games thus far – a 5-0 mauling at the hands of Thailand’s Sukhothai in the AFC Champions League qualifiers and a 2-1 league defeat to Yangon United.
The Boxing Cake are currently third in the MNL, six points behind Yangon.
Both Home and Yadanarbon have more than a week of rest before this game, so they should be fired up for this encounter.
Home will miss out on the services of Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) loanee Hariss Harun, who is ineligible, and possibly midfield enforcer Izzdin Shafiq, who suffered a knee injury in the recent 2-0 win against Hougang United.
However, first-choice goalkeeper Hassan Sunny has recovered from his ribs injury, while centre-backs Afiq Yunos and Abdil Qaiyyim are also back to full fitness.
South Korean playmaker Song Uiyoung has also returned from a one-game suspension to boost the Protectors’ attacking options.
As for Yadanarbon, they should be at full-strength with no major injuries or suspensions reported.
Key Battle: Song Uiyoung vs Ye Ko Oo
While the attention is on the attackers in the form of Home’s Plazibat and Yadanarbon’s Aung Thu, the midfield duel between Song and Ko Oo could prove to be rather pivotal in deciding the game’s outcome as well.
The technically gifted Song is capable of getting out of tight spaces before laying intelligent through balls for the attackers, while the combative Ke Oo is an N’Golo Kante of sorts with his ability to break down attacks and cover ground.
On the touchline are two coaches on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Home’s Aidil has just started his first full season in charge of a professional outfit and is not even 40 yet, while Yadanarbon’s Rene Desaeyere is currently 69 years old and has managed in Belgium, South Korea, Japan and Thailand before taking up his current post in 2015.
Facts and Figures
Home’s Plazibat will be looking to add to his tally of 14 goals in nine matches this season. He scored 15 in 24 for Hougang in 2016.
Home have won 12 out of 17 competitive games since Aidil took charge in July 2016.
Yadanarbon have six current Myanmar internationals in their ranks, namely goalkeeper Yan Aung Lin, defender Thein Than Win, midfielders Tin Win Aung, Thet Naing, Sithu Aung and, of course, forward Aung Thu.
Home are in good shape at the moment and they should have no problem dispatching the visitors. A 3-1 win for Aidil’s men as they march on into the next stage…
Photos: Home United