By Gabriel Tan
Despite leading 2-1 at halftime after goals from Jozef Kaplan and Khayrulhayat Jumat sandwiched a penalty from Qiu Li, Geylang were booted back to the bottom of the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League a second-half blitz from the Protectors, with French striker Frederic Mendy scoring four goals in a stunning 23-minute spell.
Home's other goals came from former Albirex Niigata marksman Shotaro Ihata and Singapore international Qiu, and Noor Ali believes it was individual brilliance that ultimately won the game for their opponents.
"We came out with a game plan and we knew we couldn't hold Home United out for that long with the quality they have," the former Singapore international said after the game.
"They have four foreigners plus Qiu Li, [John] Wilkinson and [Shi] Jiayi in the squad. It was never going to be easy with the depth we had on the bench.
"Home United played to their strengths - they pumped the ball up to Mendy but that's what they're good at. We contained him for the whole first half but couldn't in the next 45 minutes. We had ageing defenders like [Syed] Fadhil and young players like [Ang] Zhiwei, but I thought they gave it their all.
"The quality is there with Home United. We don't have that, but we have players who are willing to work hard."
And while the four-goal defeat meant Geylang sunk back down to the foot of the table behind Woodlands Wellington, Noor Ali believes there were plenty of positives to take from Wednesday's match.
"I thought the boys did well," he added. "They came out to play football - we didn't score from seven long balls.
"We didn't have the quality they had yet we could have led my four goals at halftime.
"The boys should not be ashamed by the loss or the 7-3 scoreline. We had plenty of chances in the first half and we scored from three good goals."
The emphatic victory came as a welcome result for the Protectors after just one win in their previous five games in all competition, and according to Home assistant coach Baek Jong-seok, they always believed they had what it takes to win on Wednesday despite trailing at the break.
"We conceded an early goal and even when we equalised, we conceded again," the South Korean said. "But all we did was give the players encouragement.
"Even at 2-1 down, we had made a lot of chances and were satisfied with the first-half performance, even if we did make some mistakes.
"We worked hard and we were sure we would come back."
Baek also singled out Ihata for praise, after the Japanese striker ended a poor run of form with a tireless performance that reaped a goal in the 50th minute when he rose high to meet a Qiu cross and powered home a header.
"Ihata worked very hard today [Wednesday]," he added. "We're very happy with his performance.
"Head coach [Lee Lim-saeng] and I discussed in great depth who we were going to start tonight [Wednesday] and Ihata hadn't played in three matches.
"He was eager to play and we thought he could do better than before, and he showed passion. He got involved in midfield and ran everywhere."
Nonetheless, Baek admits the fact they conceded three goals against the competition's bottom side is something they will have to work on.
"We will analyse the performance - there are still problems," he admitted.
"The goals we conceded in the last few matches are very similar and we are now coming to a stage where every game is crucial."
Home are next in action on Saturday when they entertain Hougang United at the Bishan Stadium, while Geylang host DPMM FC at Bedok Stadium.