It’s do-or-die for Singapore Premier League club Home United today, as they host Laotian side Lao Toyota at Jalan Besar Stadium for their third Group H match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
AFC CUP, GROUP H
Both teams are tied at a point each, but Home are in fourth with an inferior goal difference.
To maintain their qualification hopes for the Asean zonal semi-finals, the Protectors have to pull off a convincing win over Lao Toyota.
The top teams from Groups F, G and H will qualify, with the last spot open to the best runners-up of the three groups.
The Protectors, who were crowned AFC Cup Asean champions last year, are hoping to edge out the Laotian side, especially with timely returns from injuries.
Back in action are star South Korean striker Song Ui Young, who scored nine goals in the AFC Cup last year, and midfielders Hami Syahin and Aqhari Abdullah.
The three contributed to Home’s 3-0 win over Warriors FC in the SPL last Saturday.
However, first-choice goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah (knee), midfielder Fazli Ayob (knee), striker Shahril Ishak (ankle) and defender Taufiq Muqminin (Achilles’ heel) remain on the sidelines.
TIME FOR REDEMPTION
Head coach Saswadimata Dasuki said at a press conference yesterday that it would be crucial for the Protectors to display a winning performance.
“We want to redeem ourselves from the heavy defeat against Kaya,” he said, referring to their 5-0 loss on March 13.
“Lao Toyota have foreign players who can give problems to our defence if we don’t take care of them properly.”
“We must take advantage of the home game and get the win,” he added.
Likewise, Lao Toyota head coach Jun Fukuda acknowledged Home as threats.
“Home United have experience in the AFC Cup and were Asean champions. They have quality players who have played together for a long time,” he said.
However, remaining resolute, Fukuda said: “We are prepared to play against Home and came to get the three points.”
Another SPL side, Tampines Rovers, are also gunning for a spot in the semi-finals and will face Cambodian side Nagaworld in Phnom Penh today.
Tampines, on four points after two games played, are joint-leaders with Hanoi in Group F. – ADEENA NAGIB
PSM Makassar v Kaya Iloilo
Nagaworld v Tampines Rovers