Protectors Keen To Build On Good Form
Home United vs Balestier Khalsa
(Tuesday, 2 May, 7.30pm, Bishan Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Home United will look to continue their superb start to the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League when they entertain Balestier Khalsa in the Central Derby at the Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night.
After their 3-0 victory over Geylang International on Friday night, the Protectors have managed to extend their unbeaten start to the league to six games as they sit third on 14 points, five adrift of leaders Albirex Niigata (S).
In all competitions, Aidil Sharin’s side are also undefeated in nine with their last loss coming in February in a 1-0 reverse at the hands of Yadanarbon FC in the AFC Cup at home.
Their impressive run of form can be attributed to the influence of the senior players in the side, says midfielder Shamil Sharif.
“We have a well-balanced squad of youth and experience (this season),” noted the versatile Shamil, who has filled in at right-back in recent games.
“However, players such as Juma’at Jantan, Hassan Sunny and Hariss Harun are always there to guide the other players and that has been the key to the team's progression.”
The win over the Eagles was an important one for Home according to Shamil, who believes it has done the team’s confidence a world of good.
“After the 2-2 draw with Warriors, we were all upset,” he said.
“To beat Geylang after a tough game, it has boosted the team's morale and spirit.”
With 17 goals after 12 games played, forward Stipe Plazibat has been firing on all cylinders for Home this season and is currently the leading scorer for the team.
Shamil said of the Croatian: “Stipe is an excellent team player who is very clinical (in front of goal).”
“He’s previously played for J2 sides (FC Gifu and V-Varen Nagasaki), and he’s certainly shown us why he was there before.”
They come up against a wounded Balestier side reeling from two straight losses to Albirex Niigata (S) (0-3) and most recently, Hougang United (0-1).
Beating Balestier here would propel Home into second spot, and Shamil is certain that it is enough motivation for the team to go all out for the win.
“Every game is important to us,” he said.
“Going into this, it is no different from any other game. We are definitely eager to get the three points on offer.”
However, the 25-year-old has warned against complacency against the Tigers.
“Playing against Balestier has never been easy for us,” admitted Shamil.
“I think you can see it from the results in previous years; they are always full of determination and we cannot take them lightly.”
In the Balestier camp, head coach Marko Kraljevic meanwhile acknowledged it will be ‘tough’ but has remained hopeful of getting a result.
“Home United are flying and are playing really well,” said the 51-year-old. “In my opinion, they are the best team in the country at the moment.
“If we work hard and try, maybe Lady Luck will smile on us again. That’s football. You just have to believe in yourself and have a positive mindset.
“Let’s not forget that we have a young team and there is still a long way to go.”
Home United - WWWDW
28/04/17 Home United 3-0 Geylang International
22/04/17 Warriors FC 2-2 Home United
18/04/17 Home United 4-1 Yadanarbon FC (AFC Cup)
09/04/17 Hougang United 0-2 Home United
05/04/17 Than Quang Ninh 4-5 Home United (AFC Cup)
Balestier Khalsa - LWWLL
27/04/17 Hougang United 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
21/04/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
07/04/17 Balestier Khalsa 2-1 Brunei DPMM
02/04/17 Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Garena Young Lions
11/03/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Tampines Rovers
Head to Head (S.League)
15/10/16 Balestier Khalsa 0-5 Home United
14/06/16 Home United 1-3 Balestier Khalsa
03/04/16 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home United
26/10/15 Home United 2-0 Balestier Khalsa
03/08/15 Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Home United