Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2015
26 October 2015 – Yishun Stadium
Home United FC vs Balestier Khalsa FC
PROTECTORS DENT TIGERS TITLE HOPES
Aw’s charges breeze past their opponents with two goals in the first half
Home United continued their fine form in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League on Monday night, running out comfortable 2-0 winners against Balestier Khalsa FC. Sufianto Salleh wasted no time firing his side into the lead in the 2nd minute with a superb effort from an acute angle.
The midfielder scored despite deputising in defence in lieu of Juma’at Jantan, a strategic decision made by Head Coach Philippe Aw which paid off handsomely. “It was the second start for Sufianto,” Aw noted.
“I think it (the goal) helped him more, but it also helped the team,” Aw added.
The goal only seemed to spur the home side even more, as the visitors appeared to capitulate and lacked urgency. “We came out planning to get the early goal, because the longer it stays at nil-nil and with Balestier sitting back, it will suit them.”
“By taking the lead they have to come out and play us,” Aw said, before adding: “It worked to plan and I’m very, very happy that we managed to put our plan in action.”
Before the Tigers could hit back with a reply, the Protectors had already doubled their advantage. Ambroise Begue spotted Ilsø’s run and threaded a beautifully-weighted ball through the defence, leaving Ilsø one-on-one with Tigers goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.
Ilsø required no further invitation and coolly slotted the ball past Zaiful to score his 10th league goal of the season, sealing the win for his side as they claimed another three points in their climb up the league table.
Home United Head Coach Philippe Aw was pleased with the win, stating: “We didn’t allow Balestier to do what they are good at. It was very professional in the second half, that we kept a clean sheet.”
Aw paid tribute to his opponents, and admits that his side could have closed out the game better. “In a way, you have to give credit to Balestier. They came out fighting harder, they pressed us more, that’s why we couldn’t play our usual passing game. It was quite strappy in the second half. We still wanted to attack, but they worked harder in the second half as compared to the first.”
With his side stringing together a fine run of results, Aw hailed his side’s mental fortitude and team spirit and suggested that it was no coincidence that the results were showing. “It’s all about the team, the strength of the team. We missed Noh (suspended), but Camara came back. We started Sufianto because Juma’at just recovered from injury.”
“The team strength is there, that’s why we are ten games unbeaten. It’s really down to the team because if we had depended on a few, that would have been a problem for us.”
Man of the Match: Ambroise Begue. Begue was instrumental in attack, constantly creating chances by stretching the Tigers’ defence and provided an assist for the goal which cemented the win for the team.
Honourable Mention: Song Uiyong. Song’s combative presence in the midfield has been crucial for the Protectors this season, shielding the back four whilst also functioning as an immense link between the defence and attack.
The Protectors play 4 games in 10 days next, beginning with their next game away to Geylang International FC on 30 Oct 2015, at Jalan Besar Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.30p.m.