Hamdaoui sees red as Home beat Woodlands

Home United benefited from the first-half dismissal of Khalid Hamdaoui to secure a 3-0 win over Woodlands Wellington in Monday's Great Eastern-YEO's S.League encounter.

Courts Young Lions vs Home United: Lee Kwan-woo

Reporting from the Woodlands Stadium

The Protectors suffered a surprise loss to Hougang United in their previous fixture but luck was on their side this time around when Woodlands star midfielder Hamdaoui was sent off in the 35th minute under dubious circumstances. 

The one-man advantage made it easy for them to complete the win as Sirina Camara scored via two good free-kicks in the second half to add to Lee Kwan-woo's opener in the 22nd minute. 

The Korean midfielder was also the first to threaten the Woodlands' goal in the fifth minute as he broke into the box and fired a shot that Yazid Yasin managed to save with his feet. The rebound fell onto the onrushing Jordan Webb's path but the Canadian, caught by surprise, could only deflect the rebound wide of the post.

Masato Fukui, employed as a lone forward, was next to make an impact for the visitors as he reached Camara's free-kick from the left but could only direct his effort straight at the goalkeeper.

Hamdaoui, who was struggling to get much of the ball early on as Home pressed Salim Moin's men deep into their half, did well to combine with Moon Soon-ho in the 18th minute and the striker, despite stiff opposition, found space for himself within the box and fired a shot. 

However, the Home defenders closed him down and Hamdaoui's could find no accuracy with his subsequent long-range attempt.

Just a couple of minutes later, Lee broke the deadlock with a first-time volley with his right foot off a deep cross from the left by Nor Azli Yusoff that found the gap between the goalkeeper and the post.

The industrious Moon then tried to retaliate for the home side as the 32-year-old picked up the ball down the left and darted into the box and aimed for the top left corner, missing the target only by a few inches.

The scoreline could have been worse than just the one goal conceded for Woodlands as Yazid made a low save to deny Fukui in the 29th minute while Chang Jo-yoon tested Shahril Jantan for the first time with a dipping free-kick.

However, Woodlands' task of clawing a goal back was made infinitely more difficult when Hamdaoui was sent off six minutes later by referee Jansen Foo for jumping unfairly with Song Ui-young and the Woodlands midfielder also earned a card for his impulsive reaction following the incident.

At half-time, Home coach Lee Lim-saeng carried out his first substitution by bringing on Firdaus Idros for Indra Sahdan and Fukui moved to the left wing to create a three-man attack with the intent of finishing the contest in the shortest time possible.

A long ball forward in the 54th minute led to confusion within the Woodlands defence as Yazid rushed out to the edge of his box to make the intervention but he misjudged the pace of the ball and bundled into a team-mate. 

Luckily for the goalkeeper, captain Shahril ran back in the nick of time to make a terrific sliding tackle to dispossess Webb before the latter could prod the ball into an empty net.

Within a minute, Woodlands were back on the attack and a left-wing cross reached Moon and the striker, with his back to the goal, sent in a looped header that Shahril had to stretch up to tip out.

Along the sidelines, the crowd appeared to have been particularly incensed by the early dismissal of one of their favourite players and the challenges began to flow in regularly from both camps.

Yazid was called to action once more as he came out of his box to try and halt Webb's progress, earning a yellow card and conceding a free-kick in the process.

The set piece proved costly as Camara succeeded with his second free-kick attempt in the 65th minute with a shot that arrowed into the top corner.

It was then apparent that it was then an exercise in damage control for the home side but Moon was still doing his best to register a goal and saw a shot and a free-kick be saved by the Home custodian in the subsequent minutes.

But his efforts were eclipsed by Camara's second goal as the Frenchman sidefooted a shot from distance following a quick free-kick in the 76th minute.

In the closing stages of the game, it seemed that the only player who could muster some energy was Home forward Webb as he was picked out at the edge of the box down the left and utilised his acceleration to get into the area and rifle a low shot that was palmed away for a corner. 

Seven minutes later, the former Hougang United forward saw another chance go begging when he reached a long ball down the right flank and snuck into the box but his powerfully-struck effort could only go over the bar.

As time ran out, the Woodlands coach opted to switch to a three-man defence but even that was not enough to secure a consolation goal for the Rams.

The defeat widens the gap between Woodlands and fourth-placed Home to four points and the Rams next undertake a trip to Malaysia to face Harimau Muda. 

Woodlands Wellington: Yazid Yasin, Cho Sung-hwan, Hidhir Hasbiallah (Taufiq Rahmat 63'), Shahril Alias, Atsushi Shimono, Farizal Basri (Fadhil Noh 74'), Armanizam Dolah (Ridhwan Osman 77'), Ang Zhiwei, Khalid Hamdaoui, Chang Jo-yoon, Moon Soon-ho. 

Home United: Shahril Jantan, Noh Rahman, Masrezwan Masturi, Sirina Camara, Hafiz Rahim, Indra Sahdan Daud (Firdaus Idros 45'), Nor Azli Yusoff, Song Ui-young, Lee Kwan-woo (Sofiyan Abdul Hamid 67'), Jordan Webb, Masato Fukui (Haziq Azman 80').

Attendance: 1,128

Image courtesy of Home United FC (Jaron Lee)

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