Team effort key in Warriors cup victory

SAFFC assistant coach V. Selvaraj believes every member of his team played their part in their 5-4 aggregate win over Home United in the RHB Singapore Cup.

Sakurada puts his head in a painful place!

By Gabriel Tan

The Warriors came from behind twice to salvage a 3-3 draw at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Monday, which was enough to see them edge into the semi-finals after they had beaten Home 2-1 in last Wednesday's first leg.

And while it was Shimpei Sakurada, Mislav Karoglan and Tatsuro Inui who got the all-important goals on the night, cancelling out a brace from Frederic Mendy and a Franklin Anzite header, Selvaraj, who was taking charge of the side in place of the absent Richard Bok, believes it was a well-rounded team effort that saw them through in the end.

"I'm very happy with the effort the boys showed," he said after the game. "Our training really paid off.

"We prepared them well for this game and enforced a lot of simple details in defending and attack, and the players managed to carry them out.

"The key was we defended as a team, even though we conceded three goals. My midfield worked tirelessly up and down the field, especially Shimpei and Shukor [Zailan]."

Selvaraj admitted Home had posed several problems for them at the back, especially with the aerial dominance of Mendy, but was thankful his players were able to make the most of their chances.

"It wasn't easy to contain Home United's style of play, especially with their long balls to Mendy," he added. "We really had to battle hard in the air.

"We also converted our chances today [Monday]. We had even more chances at Bishan [Stadium in the first leg] but we just couldn't score. Today [Monday], we managed to."

Home assistant coach Baek Jong-seok admitted it was disappointing to bow out from a competition they had been looking to successfully defend, but admitted SAFFC had been the better side on the night.

"Of course it is disappointing to be knocked out of the Singapore Cup," Baek said.

"We wanted to be aggressive from the start but I think their midfield and attack were better than ours today [Monday]. They were excellent with their passing and movement.

"We knew they had the players with the ability to hurt us but unfortunately, we gave them chances to shoot and they made the most of their chances."

Both sides will meet again on Thursday at the Jalan Besar Stadium when they face off in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League.

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