Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Home Win AFC Cup Thriller
As I headed to the AFC Cup tie between Home United and Than Quang Ninh I had Red Card TV's rant about Singapore football fans going through my mind. I recognised the symptoms having gone through the same rage and bemusement a few years back. Singapore football ain't that bad. It's been better of course but even though I don't get here as much as I used to there is still much to enjoy. And after last night's 90 minutes Home United could be one of those things too enjoy.
Certainly they have a decent looking squad assembled by Aidil Sharin. Hassan Sunny has returned to Singapore after his time in Thailand while at the back Irfan Fandi will be looking to fulfil his undoubted potential. Sirina Camera seems to have been around ages as has South Korean Song Ui-young. Up front striker Stipe Plazibat is looking to build on a successful first season in Singapore when he scored 14 goals for Hougang United, Add to that Adam Swandi, the return of Hariss Harun and Khairul Nizam you have the makings of a useful looking squad.
Domestically they have begun the season well, defeating Young Lions 6-1 and overcoming DPMM 3-1 to sit second behind Albirex Niigata with a game in hand. Their AFC Cup campaign didn't start so brightly, going down 1-0 away to Yadanarbon in Myanmar and they needed a win from their first home game in the group to get their campaign back on track in a three team group.
They started brightly, the Korean Song scoring after 3 minutes but Than Quang Ninh hadn't come to Singapore to gaze at Marina Bay and levelled on 32 minutes through Patiyo Thambwe much to the delight of the Singapore based Vietnamese fans I was sat among. When Minh Tuan scored five minutes before half time it looked like the game was tipping towards the visitors and Home were looking at an early exit.
Credit to the home side they. They responded will and just shy of the hour mark they took the lead through Faris Ramli. Hong Quan received a second yellow card on 78i minutes and Song finished off Home's recovery when he netted on 83 minutes to earn his side their first points in the group.
For all the naysayers who like to mock Singapore football this was an excellent spectacle, certainly more enjoyable than Chelsea v Manchester United where the media tend to focus on the managers or the referee errors. For once can't we ignore the pundits and just focus on what happened? This was a bloody good game of football that was in the balance till the red card. Home fought well and eventually desrved the three points. They also, perhaps, deserve a bit of slack from cynical locals who profess to love football but have no time for what they have in their own backyard.