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Depleted Home United Knocked-Out at Semi-Final Hurdle


Home United clearly missed the creativity offered by Shi Jiayi (pictured) as they simply could not find a way past the well-organised Hougang defence. (Photo: SSC File) 


Shorn of attacking talents Shi Jiayi and Qiu Li who are on international duty, Home United struggled for ideas up front as they went down 1-0 to Hougang United in the semi-finals of this year’s League Cup.

 

Knowing that this might have been their best chance to end their six-year trophy drought, Home United head coach Lee Lim Saeng was disappointed at the lack of desire shown by his players.

 

“We didn’t play well tonight, I’m so disappointed with the individual performances” said Lee who was clearly feeling the pain of defeat at the post-match press conference.

 

But Home United still started the brighter of the two teams as Hougang custodian Fadhil Salim was forced into action early in the game., parrying away Firdaus Idros’s shot.

 

However, the Home United players were stunned in the 19th minute when veteran campaigner Mohd Noor Ali capitalised on a defensive lapse by the Protectors to strike the ball home.

 

Shellshocked, the Home United players then spent the rest of the night in search of an equaliser. 

 

But with their most with their star striker Frederic Mendy kept quiet by the Hougang defence, the Protectors barely troubled the Hougang goal.

 

Even when Home United finally got the ball into the back of the net in the 85th minute, the referee for chalked it off for an infringement on Hougang goalkeeper Fadhil Salim.

 

Hougang United will now play either Tampines Rovers or Albirex Niigata in the finals and Hougang head coach Aide Iskandar was quick to play down the semi-final victory.

 

“I’m so happy for the team, now we are in the final, but it’s not going to be easy. Both teams (Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Tampines Rovers) are quality and have beaten us handsomely. We will need to be at our best,” said Aide.