Protectors share spoils with Warriors in ‘Uniformed Derby’

Both Home United and Warriors FC could only eke out a 1-1 draw on Tuesday evening at Bishan Stadium and they will be hoping it was a point gained rather than two points dropped. 

Both teams have now played a game more than Albirex Niigata (S), with Home behind by a mere point while Warriors are trailing by six. The White Swans will play their next game on Wednesday evening.

While the fatigued Warriors, who played their fifth game in two weeks, might be satisfied with the draw, Home coach Aidil Sharin could not help but feel it was a missed chance for his team, who had a week’s break after exiting the League Cup.

The Protectors took only 12 minutes to open the scoring, with Irfan Fandi firing a low effort past Hyrulnizam Juma’at from close range.

We are really not sure why (we didn’t win), maybe they were reserving for the AFC Cup

They then had two more opportunities to extend the lead, only for Warriors goalkeeper Hyrulnizam to deny them again.

The goalkeeper first kept out Stipe Plazibat’s effort in the 41st minute, before denying Adam Swandi two minutes later.

Warriors made them pay for those misses on the stroke of half-time, with Haziq Azman fouling Shahril Ishak in the box. The Warriors skipper duly converted the resulting penalty.

From Aidil’s point of view, his side were not as focused as they should have been and he felt his charges held back because they had a vital AFC Cup ASEAN final ahead of the next week.

“It was a chance to go on top (of the league), you don’t know what can happen in tomorrow’s game (for Albirex), but it was a missed chance,” Aidil said.

“We are really not sure why (we didn’t win), maybe they (his players) were reserving for the AFC Cup. Of course if you asked me, it’s disappointing to go on top.”

The Warriors are pleased with a point

Warriors head coach Razif Onn on the other hand said he could not fault his charges, especially since they had just played a gruelling 120 minutes with eventual 2017 League Cup winners Albirex three days ago in the final.

Despite their tough schedule, the Warriors still managed to equalise in a game where they also hit the woodwork thrice.

In particular, Razif reserved praise for his goalkeeper Hyrulnizam, after the custodian bounced back from his blooper against Albirex. Hyrulnizam’s contrived to fumble a cross in the League Cup final and allowed Tsubasa Sano to score the eventual winner.

“That was fantastic from my backline, after playing five matches in two weeks,” Razif said.

“Hopefully it continues, today he (Hyrulnizam) saved at least three shots.”