Having crashed out at the same stage last year, Home United midfielder Izzdin Shafiq is ready to go one better in the AFC Cup Zonal Final in what he dubbed as “one of the biggest games in my career”.
The Singapore Premier League outfit played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg last week in Bacolod against Ceres Negros and the two teams will go again on Wednesday at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
This tie is a repeat of last season’s Zonal Final where Ceres edged out Home with a 3-2 aggregate and Izzdin is not about to let that happen again.
“Of course, this is one of the biggest games of my career so far,” Izzdin told FOX Sports Asia. “We missed out on the title last year and we will do everything it takes to bring home the honour for the club and Singapore.
“This will mean the world to me, especially since I’m captaining the side this year. “It’s all about working together and playing our hearts out.
“Credit has go to the team for their commitment, belief and passion to do this together in the AFC Cup this year.”
Home will be boosted by the return of star midfield Song Ui-young who missed the first leg through injury and with new recruit Isaka Cernak already settled in, the Protectors have every reason to be confident.
Their biggest concern will be the return of Ceres’ inspirational figure Stephan Schrock – didn’t start the first leg due to injury – but Izzdin reckons Home’s ability to play as a team will counter the Azkals star’s presence on the pitch.
He said: “Every single one of the players has done that (to play as a unit and for the club’s cause) and that’s been evident in the results and some of the performances. Now it’s vital that we continue that hard work as we are just 90 minutes away for this honour.
“It’s going to be the same tactical approach (whether Schrock plays). We started this AFC Cup campaign working together as a unit. This game will not be different from any other game that we are going to play in.
“If we can play to our coach’s game plan, everything will fall into place and we will come away with the desired result.”
The winner of this tie will go on to play in the Inter-zonal Final against North Korean side April 25 Sports Club.