Protectors Face White Swans In Do-Or-Die
Home United vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(19 September, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Bishan Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Home United will be looking to keep their Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League title hopes alive when they face current leaders Albirex Niigata (S) at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night.
As things stand, the Protectors are a whopping 16 points behind the White Swans who are on 49, but will close the gap to just four points should they win their four games in hand.
Goalkeeper Hassan Sunny believes his side have what it takes to catch up with Albirex and possibly mount a late challenge for the title.
“We need to be ready for the next four games and try to get the miracle,” the Singapore international said on Home’s official Facebook page.
“This is football and sometimes you need to create that miracle for yourself.”
With a tricky S.League fixture against Geylang International and then a two-legged RHB SIngapore Cup tie against Albirex coming up next, the Home skipper has urged his teammates to step up and to be counted.
“We want to end the month on a high,” Hassan added.
“By that, I mean in a good position to fight for the title and the RHB (Singapore) Cup and I believe we are ready.”
Home are coming off a resounding 4-1 win over Brunei DPMM slightly over a week ago, but head coach Aidil Sharin remains cautious.
“Of course, we are taking it one game at a time and three points on Tuesday is the priority for us,” he said.
“After this game, we move on to Geylang on Saturday, which is not going to be easy because they are on a high after winning three games in a row.”
Home will rely on the attacking duo of Stipe Plazibat and Faris Ramli - who have accounted for 28 goals in the S.League so far - to produce the goods while Hariss Harun and Izzdin Shafiq will provide the stability in the heart of midfield.
Albirex meanwhile, eked out a narrow 1-0 win over 2015 S.League champions DPMM in Bandar Seri Begawan just three days ago with left-back Naofumi Tanaka’s fourth goal of the season proving the difference.
However, it could have all been a different story had the Wasps put away the chances they created.
Despite the victory, Albirex head coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga is not getting carried away.
“Our next game will be a very important one not only for us, but also for Home and the S.League,” said the Japanese. “Hence, we need to prepare very well for the next game.
“We don’t care about other matches; we just want to concentrate on the games in front of us. We will prepare for next match very well, that is what we need.”
The last time the two teams met at Bishan in April, Home had led through strikes from Plazibat and Faris but allowed Tsubasa Sano and Kento Nagasaki to score to share the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Albirex’s top scorer Sano will however miss out as he serves the second of his two-match ban after picking up a straight red against Garena Young Lions.
Home on the other hand, will miss Abdil Qaiyyim and Christopher van Huizen due to suspension and injury respectively.
Suspension: Abdil Qaiyyim (Home United); Tsubasa Sano (Albirex Niigata (S))
Home United - WLWWW
08/09/17 Brunei DPMM 1-4 Home United
16/08/17 Home United 3-1 Brunei DPMM (RHB Singapore Cup)
13/08/17 Brunei DPMM 1-3 Home United (RHB Singapore Cup)
09/08/17 Ceres-Negros FC 2-0 Home United (AFC Cup)
02/08/17 Home United 2-1 Ceres-Negros FC (AFC Cup)
Albirex Niigata (S) - WWWWW
16/09/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
08/09/17 Garena Young Lions 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
19/08/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Tampines Rovers
13/08/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Tampines Rovers (RHB Singapore Cup)
10/08/17 Tampines Rovers 1-5 Albirex Niigata (S) (RHB Singapore Cup)
Head to Head (S.League)
23/06/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-2 Home United
01/04/17 Home United 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
20/10/16 Home United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
18/06/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 5-2 Home United
08/04/16 Home United 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S)