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Home United breaks silverware drought with RHB Singapore Cup victory

 
Home United talismanic striker, Frederic Mendy (in pink) caused not only a headache, but also a heart-break for Albirex, when he netted the winner deep into extra time. (Photo:SSC)

Home United Football Club (FC) put an end to their silverware drought on Saturday night after beating Albirex Giigata (Singapore) 1 - 0 in extra time to clinch the RHB Singapore Cup title.

The match kicked off with both teams gunning for the win but it was the Japanese outfit who were dominant in the first half, controlling much of the ball. Albirex’s Tatsuro Inui marshalled the offence and pulled the strings in midfield, setting up his team mates into space. The Japanese playmaker caused Home United a headache with his dazzling runs and superb free kicks, which were just inches away from goal. .

Despite the dominance, the match went into the break goalless.

The second half was a much different ball game as Home United took control of the ball and fired off several shots at goal in the opening minutes of the second half. The Protectors had a great chance to open the scoring in the 57th minute when Sheriff El-Masri intercepted a switching play and sped to the edge of the box unchallenged. He squared the ball across goal beating the Japanese goalkeeper but there were no bodies to prod it into goal.

Home United kept on piling the pressure with a few decent free kick attempts by Shi Jiayi and shots by striker Frederic Mendy who was very quiet in the first half.

The Protectors’ crowd favourite, Qiu Li checked in for the hardworking Firdaus Idros in the 80th minute, to add more depth and technique in Home United’s offense. A moment of excitement came when Home United star Frederic Mendy headed in a free-kick in the dying minutes of regular time. The goal was however, ruled out as the referee’s assistant flagged for offside.

The game entered extra-time with both teams unable to break the deadlock until the second half. Just before the game could settle for spot-kicks, it was Mendy who once again managed to squeeze in a heartbreaker for the japanese in the 118th minute. Mendy, who was denied a goal earlier in the game, made sure the goal confirmed before he celebrated it with the whole team.

The final whistle came minutes later and the 3,322 strong crowd roared into a thunderous applause, appreciating the efforts of both teams putting up an exciting match in the cup final.

Year 2011 has been a great season for Home United as they now push to bring home the league title next week in a title deciding match against Tampines Rovers.

Third Place Playoff

In the curtain raiser for the Cup final, French outfit Etoile FC beat Hougang United FC 3-0 in a match which saw a total of 3 red cards to win the third place playoff.

Etoile opened their account early in the game, courtesy of a third minute goal by Kamel Chaaouane. They were reduced to ten man when Sirina Camara picked up his second yellow card on the 42nd minute for pushing a player.

The second half saw Hougang gunning for a comeback. However, they could not capitalise on the numerical advantage and Etoile further extended their lead with a towering header from Franklin Anzite in the 54th minute

With challenges flying and tempers raging high, Hougang’s Sharil Alias lost his cool and went in studs first into a challenge, resulting in him being sent off in the 65th minute. Minutes later, Etoile’s Theo Raymond blasted in from close range to send the “Stars” flying.

The French side had to put celebrations on hold in the dying minutes when goal scorer Chaaouane, needlessly kicked his opponent on the knee in injury time. The blatant offence not only resulted in a send off for Chaaouane, but almost caused a brawl in the pitch between the teams.

When the scuffle eased and the game resumed, the final whistle came just a few minutes later, sealing the third place match in the French’s favour.

Renewed endorsement of RHB Singapore Cup

It was also a significant year for RHB Bank as it celebrates the bank's 50th Anniversary and its renewal of the endorsement of the RHB Singapore Cup. This brings RHB Bank's total sponsorship to $4.5million.

Speaking more on RHB Bank's renewed sponsorship, Mr Jason Wong, Country Head, RHB Bank Berhad Singapore said, "RHB remains committed to assisting individuals, enterprises as well as the Singapore Cup to help them succeed in their goals. The sport of football holds a strong significance and involvement for RHB Bank. Just like the sport, we believe in teamwork and the need to strategize each move in order to score the goals for RHB Bank. For the past 50 years, we have stayed side-by-side with the people and we look forward to many more 50 years to come. Similar for the RHB Singapore Cup, we look forward to continuing our contribution to the Singapore's football scene."