SINGAPORE - Home United were held 2-2 by Warriors FC on Sunday night in the opening game of their S-League campaign.
Despite leaving talented 18-year-old youngster Irfan Fandi and winger Faris Ramli on the bench, Home dominated and created numerous scoring chances in an entertaining first half with quick link-up play by Khairul Nizam, Danish forward Ken Ilso and Azhar Sairudin.
Playing for the first time after a year at their home ground at Bishan Stadium, the Protectors opened the scoring in the 17th minute, when former LionsXII hitman Nizam pounced on the rebound and easily flicked a shot past veteran goalkeeper Yasid Yasin after Aqhari Abdullah's shot bounced off the crossbar.
But the Warriors, the nine-time S-League champions, equalised in the 35th minute, when French new import Jonathan Behe scored from the penalty spot.
Home continued to pile the pressure on their opponents in the second half, but a tightened Warriors backline, boosted by new signings Madhu Mohana, Hafiz Osman and Japanese import Kento Fukuda, kept Home at bay.
But in the 82nd minute, French defender Sirina Camara rifled in a shot from the edge of the box to put Home ahead.
Despite being reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute, as centre-back Madhu was sent off for a hard foul on Irfan, the Warriors snuck in a late equaliser in the 90th minute through Fazli Jaffar's strike.
Home will next face last season's cellar dwellers Hougang United, who are boosted by last season's Player of the Year Fumiya Kogure, on Thursday at Hougang Stadium, while Warriors will take on Tampines Rovers on Friday at Jalan Besar Stadium.