Plazibat Fires Protectors To The Summit
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Stipe Plazibat bagged four goals as Home United romped to a 6-1 victory over Garena Young Lions in their 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League opener at the Bishan Stadium on Monday night.
Faris Ramli and Khairul Nizam were the other names on the scoresheet, rendering Young Lions’ Zulqarnaen Suzliman’s 51st minute strike a mere consolation.
It was the perfect response from the Protectors who came into this game on the back of a 1-0 defeat by Yadanarbon FC in their opening AFC Cup H Group game last Wednesday.
The visitors on the other hand, started the game promisingly as they constantly pressed high up the pitch, with midfielders Hami Syahin and Muhelmy Suhaimi doing a decent job in screening the back four.
It was Home who nearly got their noses in front after just six minutes through Nizam but he could only poke over from point-blank.
Nine minutes later, Zharfan Rohaizad had to be alert to push away a shot from Faris who had gotten onto the end of a Nizam cutback in the penalty area.
There was however no denying the Protectors on 23 minutes as they broke the deadlock.
Nizam released Faris and the winger made no mistake by sliding through the legs of an onrushing Zharfan to make it 1-0.
Aidil Sharin’s charges extended their advantage six minutes later as Plazibat prodded home from close range after Izzdin Shafiq’s freekick had fallen nicely into his path.
Adam Swandi and Izzdin then came close but were thwarted by Zharfan in the 32nd and 39th minutes respectively.
Home would take a three-goal cushion into the break as Plazibat got his second of the night, firing home from a tight angle after the Young Lions defence failed to clear their lines.
Five minutes after the break, Young Lions reduced the deficit through substitute Zulqarnaen Suzliman as his acrobatic effort sailed over the flailing arms of Hassan.
Plazibat would however restore Home’s three-goal lead in the 55th minute. Holding off his marker after Nizam had set him up in the penalty area, he proceeded to fire low past Zharfan into the far corner for his hat-trick.
Faris could have notched a brace himself three minutes later, after he was impeded in the box by Amirul Adli.
The Singapore international winger stepped up but failed to put the resulting spot-kick away as Zharfan went the right way to keep it out and keep his side in the game.
It did not take long for Home to score another goal though, as they duly added a fifth just after the hour mark.
Faris turned provider this time, sending Nizam through on goal before the latter coolly finished past Zharfan at his near post.
Plazibat then completed the scoring fifteen minutes from time as he curled a 20-yard freekick over the Young Lions wall and into Zharfan’s bottom corner before he was replaced by Shamil Sharif shortly after.
Home substitute Afiq Yunos could have gotten a goal in the closing stages but Young Lions captain Shahrin Saberin made a vital clearance to deny the defender as the Protectors replaced Albirex Niigata (S) at the summit of the league table temporarily.
Home United Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “I think the boys showed their hunger to win today and put in a lot of effort to bounce back from their AFC Cup loss to Yadanarbon. As you can see, the team did not show any mercy and were still fighting even after going two or three goals up.
“Once Plazibat opened his accounts, the goals just started pouring in. We showed faith in him and he displayed what he could do in this game. It's not only about him however, it's also the team who performed well and helped him to score.”
Garena Young Lions Head Coach V. Selvaraj: “We could have been tougher in defence especially, and I think we respected the opponents too much. But I was glad that we managed to play out in certain situation even though we were under pressure.
“Player to player, we were battling against senior players from the national team as well as foreign players. It's going to be a lot of instances where we can see the difference in quality. We have to make use of all these games to get better and of course, it didn't come in a good way with six goals conceded.”
Home United: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Juma’at Jantan, Irfan Fandi (Afiq Yunos 82’), Abdil Qaiyyim, Sirina Camara, Adam Swandi, Song Uiyoung, Izzdin Shafiq, Faris Ramli, Khairul Nizam (Amiruldin Asraf 65’), Stipe Plazibat (Shamil Sharif 76’)
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Shahrin Saberin (C), Amirul Adli, Syahrul Sazali, Ryan Syaffiq (Faizal Roslan 82’), Hami Syahin, Muhelmy Suhaimi, Yeo Hai Ngee (Haiqal Pashia 64’), Shafeeq Faruk (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 46’), Muhaimin Suhaimi