Controversial penalty hands Home derby win

Home United benefited from a controversial penalty kick to claim a 1-0 Uniform Derby win over Warriors FC in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League on Friday evening.

Warriors FC vs Home United: Lee Kwan-woo
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

Reporting from the Jalan Besar Stadium

The only goal of the game came in the 15th minute when Lee Kwan-woo fired home on the rebound after his penalty was saved by Hassan Sunny.

But the Warriors will have every reason to be aggrieved that it was awarded in the first place as the ex-Korea Republic international went down inside the area after what looked to be minimal contact from a challenge by Jeremy Chiang.

Nonetheless, that was all it took to settle the tie in favour of Home, while their opponents' evening was made even more miserable when they had Erwan Gunawan sent off for a second bookable offence.

The result also means that the Warriors face an extremely difficult task if they are to finish the season inside the top six, while Home look increasingly likely to do just that after moving up to fourth on the table, behind Tanjong Pagar United only on goals scored.

Having booked their place in the RHB Singapore Cup semi-finals just days earlier with a 5-2 aggregate win over Geylang International, the Protectors entered Friday's derby clash high on confidence and it showed early on.

Just two minutes in, they had their first opening when Hafiz Rahim burst through from the edge of the box but was denied in a one-on-one situation by Hassan, before Marin Vidosevic hacked the ball clear before it could trickle over the line.

A minute later, Lee lined up a freekick from the left wing and went straight for goal with a fierce effort, but Hassan was not to be caught up at his near post and tipped the shot wide.

But in the 14th minute, the designated visitors were given a golden opportunity to open the scoring when they were awarded a penalty in controversial fashion; Lee doing well to skip past Chiang with a quick shuffle before tripping over from a nothing challenge.

The ex-Suwon Bluewings star stepped up to take the resultant spot-kick and although his initial effort drew a fine save from Hassan, he made no mistake at the second time of asking as he planted the rebound firmly into the back of the net.

Buoyed at taking the lead, Home began to grow in confidence and threatened their opponents' goal again in the 21st minute when Firdaus Idros curled a speculative effort wide from the edge of the area, before Hassan raced out well to claim an incisive through-ball from Indra Sahdan Daud just as Jordan Webb was about to pounce seven minutes later.

But gradually, the Warriors started to gain a foothold in the contest and carved out a nice opening in the 37th minute when Tatsuro Inui created space with a nice turn down the left before finding Kazuyuki Toda, only for him to be dispossessed after taking too long to fire away.

Still, Hassan continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers and made another good stop four minutes after the break to claim a 20-yard drive from Hafiz Rahim, and in the 53rd minute, it was Camara's turn to have a chance as he met Lee's cross at the near post with a header that was just wide.

By now, Warriors coach Alex Weaver had already introduced Shimpei Sakurada and Erwan to add a different dimension to his attack, and the latter had a decent effort a minute later when he latched onto Zulfadli Zainal Abidin's left-wing cross and tried to bend one into the far corner but sent it narrowly off target.

A minute after the hour mark, Erwan was involved once more as he tore down the right and crossed for Sakurada, but the Japanese midfielder was just unable to create space for a shot, allowing Ismail Yunos to nip in and clear the danger.

Seven minutes later, Ismail nearly made an equally useful contribution at the other end when he met Indra's cross at the far post and nodded the ball firmly towards goal, calling Hassan into action once more.

But as the Warriors began to push more men forward in search of an equaliser, plenty of gaps began to appear and Home nearly exploited that in the 74th minute when a poor touch by Toda allowed Webb to win the ball off him in a dangerous position.

Heading straight for goal, the Canadian exchanged a neat one-two with Firdaus before firing away, only to see his shot sail inches wide of the bottom corner.

Three minutes later, the Warriors came close to equalising when Sufian Anuar climbed well inside the box to meet Inui's corner, only for his header to sail just over.

And in the 87th minute, they had one final chance to force the draw when Chiang nodded the ball on from the edge of the box to Sakurada, who instantly lashed a shot towards goal on the turn but blazed it high and wide.

 A minute from time, the designated hosts' disappointing evening got worse when Erwan, already on a yellow, was a little too exuberant as he looked to pressure Shahril Jantan and caught his former team-mate, leaving referee Abdul Malik Bashir no option but to issue him his marching orders.

Warriors FC: Hassan Sunny, Jeremy Chiang, Abdil Qaiyyim, Marin Vidosevic, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Daniel Bennett (Erwan Gunawan 46'), Kazuyuki Toda, Shi Jiayi (Matthew Abraham 62'), Prakash Manikam (Shimpei Sakurada 46'), Tatsuro Inui, Sufian Anuar.

Home United: Shahril Jantan, Ismail Yunos, Noh Rahman, Sirina Camara, Juma'at Jantan, Hafiz Rahim (Sofiyan Abdul Hamid 69'), Song Ui-young, Firdaus Idros, Indra Sahdan Daud (Syahiran Miswan 77'), Jordan Webb, Lee Kwan-woo (Choi Jae-won 67').

Image courtesy of Home United FC (Jaron Lee)

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