Written by: Darren Ho
Home United are hot on Albirex Niigata (S) heels at the summit of the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League after an impressive performance, defeating Brunei DPMM 9-3 at Bishan Stadium on Thursday night.
Faris Ramli was as his stunning best, netting four goals, while assisting three others as teammates Stipe Plazibat, Khairul Nizam, Adam Swandi and Song Uiyoung also got their names on the scoresheet for the hosts.
DPMM had Rafael Ramazotti, Shah Razen Said and Adi Said to reduce the deficit, but it was Home who would ease to a comfortable victory and seal all three points in this encounter.
It has been a crucial, yet congested week for Aidil Sharin’s side who are in their quest to finish top of the S.League, while battling in the AFC Cup Zonal semi-finals in midweek.
Yet, the Bishan-based side, who are one foot in the final, made no mistake in their S.League commitments to push on both fronts.
Both teams kicked-off the first-half with vicious intent to get their noses in front.
The visitors made their first attempt to prise an opening inside four minutes when wide man Azwan Ali flight a dangerous cross from the left to pick up Adi in the box, only to be denied by Hassan Sunny who was right on point when he sprung to intercept with a save.
It had been the worst possible start in Steve Kean’s regime as DPMM coach this season and their woes were compounded when the Protectors scored six within the space of twenty-five minutes before half-time.
Home broke the deadlock after 21 minutes when Shamil Sharif delivered a delightful cross for Faris to take a first touch before elevating his shot past the onrushing Alijanda Sitom to take the lead.
Faris clinched his second nine minutes later, tapping in a low cross from Plazibat who timed his delivery to perfection from the right flank.
The pair would switch roles three minutes later as Faris became provider when he picked up a loose ball in the penalty box to connect with Plazibat who rolled the ball past Alijanda at his far post.
The Protectors’ number nine did score his second just moments later as Faris once again dinked a clever ball from the middle for Plazibat to run in and chip over Alijanda, making it 4-0 in the 36th minute.
But the Singapore International wa not done yet as he produced another assist for Nizam, delaying his run from a Home counter attack, to slot in a pass to his club and International teammate to place the ball into the bottom corner.
Faris did eventually seal his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time as he darted his shot from the 12-yard box for the Protectors to lead by six at the break.
Aidil’s side picked up exactly where they had left off after the restart and went further ahead when Adam blast in a finish from close range after teeing up with Faris’s cross, before DPMM
would cause a few moments of concern when Ramazotti broke through the Home’s defence with a simple finish to get their fightback underway.
On the other end, Song would restore Home’s seven goal cushion as his shot behind the box took a deflection off Ramazotti, finding its way into the net, before Faris rounded the goalkeeper to score his fourth of the night.
Just past the hour mark and both sides would make changes on their own. Steve Kean was desperate to bring in players to score at the front, while Aidil was keen on resting key players for their next AFC cup match in midweek.
DPMM substitute impact Shah Razen would put Kean’s faith in him to good effect as he ghosted into the box to punish Hassan in conceding his second, before his provider Adi slammed his free-kick from 20 yards to seal the final scoreline at 9-3.
Play continued to fluctuate from end to end as Irfan Fandi made a brilliant effort to track back and prevent Ramazotti from his second when the Brizilian chipped past the onrushing Hassan to see his effort clipped off the goal line by the young Singapore defender.
With this result, Home remain in second spot, two points behind Albirex who have a game in hand, while DPMM languish in eighth.
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: “I’m gutted for the players. We’ve worked hard for the past two weeks. We didn’t thought it was that easy scoring against us.
“But we didn’t deserve any point. We were very open and each time the ball went forward, we had our hearts in our mouth because we actually don’t have defenders and we’re struggling in defence.
“Sometime you have to rebuild a team and for the last three years, we’ve won most of our games but we’ve lost a couple of players and had to replace midfielders with defenders.
“It’s unfair to criticise our midfielders who had to draw back as defenders but we need to get in local defenders for help at the back this transfer.”
Home United: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Irfan Fandi, Afiq Yunos, Juma’at Jantan (Luqman Bin Ismail 59’) , Hariss Harun, Song Uiyoung (Izzdin Shafiq 63’), Shamil Sharif, Adam Swandi, Faris Ramli, Khairul Nizam, Stipe Plazibat (Amiruldin Asraf 77’)
Brunei DPMM: Alijanda Sitom (GK), Zeljko Savic (Reduan Petara 40’), Azwan Saleh, Azwan Ali, Hendra Azam (Nurikhwan Othman 78’), Najib Tarif, Maududi Hilmi Kasmi, Rosmin Kamis (C), Aminuddin Zakwan, Rafael Ramazotti, Adi Said