Warriors 2 Home United 2: Case Of The Deja Vu

Photo: Great Eastern - Hyundai S.League

Chris Peng
Guest Contributor
Blogger at A Home United F.C.'s Fan's Perspectives

Did God photostat the first encounter between the two sides in 2016 and presented an identical copy in 2017?

Cue our first encounter in 2016, Hufc was leading 2-1 and Warriors had Madhu Mohana who got sent off for a stupid foul on Irfan Fandi. Most observers will predict that three points are safely in the bag, cue Murphy’s law. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Fazli Jaffar scored to ruin the day for everyone associated with the Protectors.

Let’s come back to reality, 2017. Hufc was leading 2-0 and Warrior’s Hafiz Osman got sent off for a double yellow card offense. Once again the Warriors seemed dead and buried. Once again someone had to spoil our show. Two familiar names instantly come to mind. Fazli Jaffar turned from predator to provider, presenting unmarked Sharil Ishak with a simple header to finish the game all square again. 2-2. Sounds familiar?

Sharil Ishak returns home. Not the way you’ll imagine it.

Fazli Jaffar proved to be Hufc’s bogeyman for two matches, but mention the name Sharil Ishak and some ardent Hufc fans will be foaming at the mouth, rabid bull style, not quite as ferocious as the dragon on our club’s emblem but probably possessing twice the anger.

In 2010, Sharil Ishak played a starring role for Hufc, scoring 17 goals with 5 games still remaining? So he did nothing for the 5 games? He definitely did something, just that whatever he did worked out very poorly for Hufc. He left Hufc for cash rich Indonesia. Indonesian clubs waved stacks of Rupiah at Singaporean players as they had to fulfill their quota for Asian players. Sharil Ishak was just 1 of 7 Lions who made the leap over to Indonesia. Hufc definitely felt this loss in the keenest way, falling apart in their title pursuit, finishing third.

To Sharil, he had no choice, it was the chance of a life time and he had to do it, whether it’s for monetary reasons or for personal growth, it’s up to however he explains it. What is undeniable is the fact that he did choose to abandon his club for the title run in, that 5 games broke Hufc’s season. Of course it’s unhealthy for any club to be so reliant on a single player but that’s content for a different article all together. Suffice to say that Sharil Ishak’s departure left a bitter taste in the mouth of many.

Photo: Great Eastern - Hyundai S.League

So he returned to Singapore after a stint in Indonesia and Malaysia, signing for Warriors. Here’s a quote from him before he left.

‘“I wish them (Home United) all the best for the title race and the future. If I were to come back, Home United is my first priority,” he said as parting words to the club and the S.League.'”

Obviously he didn’t sign for Hufc, not that we needed him. With Song, Aqhari, Adam, Izzdin, Hariss, Chris and Faris available, we really didn’t. He did make a priority to mark his return to the league with a cool double versus Hufc. Deja Vu indeed. Sharil has returned home to haunt Home United. After witnessing his goals, i can’t help but to remember reading about what he said.

An encounter with our old custodian Hyrul

Yet another familiar name. Hyrul did poorly to concede a penalty versus Stipe but couldn’t really have done much about the 2nd goal he conceded, The other aspects of his play was also relatively impeccable. I guess i will have to be satisfied with the match as far as he is concerned. He redeemed himself with some good saves and both teams went home with a point. I wish him well. The sentimental soul in me always wishes a former player well. Heck, i am still following Ken Ilsø’s progress with Kedah. Sentiments like these makes us human right?

Decent night for our second choice keeper Rudy

Rudy made just 1 glaring mistake to me when he dropped the ball early in the first half, after that i felt that he played in a reassured manner. Couldn’t have done much about the penalty or the second goal we conceded. The second goal we conceded came about as Warriors some how regained plenty of momentum when they went a man down. Sharil’s second goal was served on a platter for him as he was completely unmarked. Comparing Rudy’s performance to his previous appearance when he dropped the ball at least three times, i’ll consider this game to be of a marked improvement for him.

The lack of a killer’s instinct cost us dear today.

When we were 2 goals up, the tide was certainly with us. We were slicing apart their defense at will and could have ended up with a couple more goals. The fact that we didn’t, in conjunction with the Warriors finding their second wind after they went a man down,it meant that we were under constant pressure late in the second half. Against Yadanarbon, when we were pressured, we executed a great counter-attacking game and Adam’s goal sealed it for us. If we had been more prolific when we were on the up or counter-attacked better when we were under pressure, we would have had a third goal and it would be game over. Food for thought for the management.

Stipe deserves better than a draw tonight.

Red hot forward Stipe deserved better from his team mates tonight. Retaking the penalty which will open the scoring of a match is a nerve wrecking experience even for seasoned pros. He took up the responsibility with aplomb and also scored the second with a neat through ball. However the team let him down after that.

To quote Hufc’s manager Aidil Sharin,

“I thought that in the first half, we controlled the game very well. Second half, we had good chances but after the penalty, the boys’ heads were down and I was not sure why.” said the 39-year-old.

A striker’s job is to bang in the goals and he has done that tonight. The defense allowing an unmarked player to equalize against his efforts is just a slap on his face. He deserves better. Football is a team sport and he can’t do it alone. I am sure the coach will be hard at work sorting it out during the next few training sessions.

Was it due to our missing boys?

A quick look at the squad list reveals that Hassan, Juma’at, Izzdin and Aqhari didn’t feature. Faris only came on as a substitute and looked clearly off the pace. Losing first choice players like these will hurt any team. But with a team with such strength in depth like ours, that’s really no excuse. One can argue that we lost our defensive midfield’s core but most teams’ first choice in midfield will pale in comparison to what we were able to field today. Adam, Song and Hariss will walk into most teams. So no excuse in terms of missing personnel. We have a squad for a reason. The missing players can however account for the fact that sometimes the players aren’t as fluid as they should be.  In at least three instances, our players were going after the same ball and kind of ran into each other.

Irfan’s tactical foul

Late into the second half, Irfan pushed an opponent, preventing him from taking a quick free kick. That came at the cost of a booking but it meant that the opponent wasn’t able to capitalize on their momentary numerical superiority. Who says that all tactical fouls must be committed by the last man with a flailing arm or leg when the opponent is clean on goal? Only he can explain whether he just lost his head for a second or he knew that he needed to buy the team time. Either way, it worked.

When it rained, it rained yellows from referee.

6 yellow cards for the warriors and 5 for the protectors.

Photo: Great Eastern - Hyundai S.League

Yes, it’s a full blooded uniform derby between two teams who are in form. However if i were to compare it to other games with that many bookings, i felt that both the teams tried to play positive football and wasn’t thuggish. The reason why there were that many booking was due to the fact that perhaps the referee was too card happy and eager to stamp his authority on the game. Giving a caution for the first real foul is going to deter players from playing their normal game. People grow wary of committing hard but fair tackles. Is that healthy for the game? I doubt so. Video replay for referees in S-League is not a thing but should be considered for key moments such as penalty kicks. Would hate to see it being used for every single situation that warrants a yellow card. Especially if the referee is that happy to whip out his card. We would have as many stoppages as an old lady taking breaks on his way to the market. So i am all for the referee giving decisions at his discretion, but being able to know when to give a firm talking to and when to lay down the law seems like a critical refereeing skill.


Familiar result, familiar players, familiar failings of players and officials. Perhaps as humans, we are just destined to reproduce examples of the past. Deja Vu is a thing for a reason. Protectors, let’s emulate the better things we’ve done and weed out the bad eggs. More of what we did versus Yadanarbon will do very nicely. Let’s start that versus Geylang at the Bedok stadium.

Full-Time at Choa Chu Kang Stadium - S.League (22 April 2017):

Warriors FC - 2
Home United - 2

Warriors FC - Shahril Ishak 80' (pen), 86'
Home United - Stipe Plazibat 4' (pen), 47'

All copyrights © 2017 are attributed to the respective contributors above.

This article was first posted on https://homeunited.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/warriors-2-home-united-2-case-of-the-deja-vu/

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