Than Quang Ninh vs Home United: Group H’s top spot in sight for Protectors

AFC Cup| My Dinh National Stadium| Wed 5 Apr | 6pm AST (7pm SGT)  

Billed as:

Chance for Home to take control of their own destiny.

The lowdown:

Than Quang Ninh Form

  • Can Tho 1-1 Than Quang Ninh (V.League)
  • Than Quang Ninh 2-0 Binh Duong (V.League)
  • Home United 3-2 Than Quang Ninh (AFC Cup)
  • Than Quang Ninh 1-1 Yadanarbon (AFC Cup)
  • Da Nang 2-0 Than Quang Ninh (AFC Cup)

Home United Form

  • Home 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • Home 3-2 Than Quang Ninh (AFC Cup)
  • Brunei DPMM 1-3 Home (S.League)
  • Home 6-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
  • Yadanarbon 1-0 Home (AFC Cup)

The last time out in the AFC Cup, it looked like Home was slipping to their second straight defeat after trailing 2-1 at half-time to Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh.

However, the Protectors stood up to be counted in the second half, with goals from Faris Ramli and Song Ui Young (who netted a brace that night) turning the game around and earning their first points of the campaign.

Lest we forget, the top team and best-placed runners-up in the ASEAN zone’s three groups will progress into the zonal semi-finals.

That win meant Home are currently ranked second in Group H and they could leapfrog Yadanarbon to go into top spot by getting another three points in this tough away encounter.  

Home team Than Quang Ninh are currently bottom in the three-team group with one point but can also go top if they secure a two-goal victory, so they are no less motivated to earn a win.

Apart from home advantage, they also have the edge of in terms of rest – with this being their first game since the international break, while Home played last Saturday and had to travel to Hanoi the following day for this match.

Team News:

hassan_sunny_-_home_united.jpg

Hassan has only kept one clean sheet this season

Home brought along 19 players for this away trip, but one of them will not feature – South Korean playmaker Song is suspended after accumulating two yellow cards.

To compound their worries, Singapore vice-captain Hariss Harun did not travel with the team as he is ineligible for the group stage.

Attackers Faris and Khairul Nizam are expected to start despite still having ankle and knee injuries respectively.

Should the main players suffer fatigue during the game, they can also call upon the likes of Afiq Yunos, Christopher van Huizen and Marijan Suto — all three have played peripheral roles for the team so far.

As for Than Quang Ninh, they will miss out on the services of Vietnam international attacker Mac Hong Quan who was sent for two bookable offences in the 3-2 defeat to Home at Jalan Besar Stadium three weeks ago.

Key Battle: Izzdin Shafiq vs Vu Minh Tuan

izzdin_shafiq_-_home_united.jpg

Izzdin is fast cementing his status as a top midfielder in Singapore

With Song and Hariss not available for this game, the responsibility to take charge of the Home engine room lies firmly on Izzdin’s shoulders.

Shedding several kilograms has helped the 26-year-old’s cause as he is beginning to regain the form that saw him rated as one of the best playmakers in the country.

Izzdin will need to be on his best again as he will come up against another mean machine in the form of Minh Tuan.

The Than Quang Ninh captain not just bosses the middle of the park, but also has an eye for goal – having scored six goals in 2017 so far, including one in the 3-2 Home defeat recently.  

The Coaches:

Bar the opening-day AFC Cup defeat to Yadanarbon, it has been so far so good for Home and surely part it has to be credited to coach Aidil Sharin.

The 39-year-old former national player has managed to carry on the legacy instilled by predecessor Philippe Aw, with the Protectors showing some breath-taking free-flowing football on several occasions this season.

As for Than Quang Ninh counterpart Phan Thanh Hung, it has been a pretty mixed campaign for the former Vietnam forward with his side currently ranked sixth in the 14-team V.League after five wins, one draw and four defeats in 10 matches.

Facts and Figures:

  • Home have kept just one clean sheet in seven games so far this season, while Than Quang Ninh have four in 12 games.

  • Home have failed to score in just one out of seven games, while Than Quang Ninh has recorded zero goals in two out of 12.

FourFourTwo prediction:

It will not be an easy game in Hanoi, but the visitors should be able to attain a 1-1 draw if they perform to their fullest potential…

Photos: Home United