Football: Impressive Hami Syahin rescues a point for Home United in AFC Cup opener

Hami Syahin (centre) with Young Lions' players Joshua Pereira (left) and Irfan Fandi in 2018.
Hami Syahin (centre) with Young Lions' players Joshua Pereira (left) and Irfan Fandi in 2018.ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - He is the new recruit among a strong cast of experienced internationals and league veterans.

But, for the second game in four days, young Hami Syahin stood out for Home United with another bright display.

Playing in a new deep-lying midfield role, the 20-year-old rescued a point for the Protectors in a 1-1 draw with Indonesian side PSM Makassar in their opening Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Group H match at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday (Feb 27).

"Coach (Saswadimata Dasuki) has always told me that whenever I find space, I should always take a shot," said Hami, who was named the Man of the Match. "That's why I took the chance when I saw it."

Home made a positive start before 1,589 fans, but fell behind when Makassar's Finnish forward Eero Markkanen scored with a left-footed volley in the 26th minute.

The Singapore Premier League club, who missed their injured foreign midfielders Song Ui-young (South Korea) and Isaka Cernak (Australia), then found themselves pinned down by the playmaking of Makassar's Dutch midfielder Willem Pluim.

But, in the 63rd minute, Hami decided to have a crack from 25 metres out and the ball smashed past Makassar goalkeeper Rivky Mokodompit into the top corner.

His goal drew praise from Makassar's Bosnian coach Darije Kalezic, who said: "They scored a goal that you could see only in the top competitions.

"We controlled the game, 100 per cent. We created enough chances to win the game, but didn't kill the game. But we have to be satisfied with one away point."

Hami, who joined Home from the Young Lions this season, also starred in last Saturday's Community Shield win over Albirex Niigata, bossing the midfield and scoring the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

Saswadimata said: "He's got good vision, his technique is very strong.

"He can control the midfield with Izzdin (Shafiq). They have combined well together and I've told him to work really hard and he should have the ambition to go further."

Home are hoping to replicate last season's success when they won the Asean Zone final of the continent's second-tier club tournament before losing to North Korea's April 25 in the inter-zone play-off semi-finals.

Home's next fixture is on March 13, away to Philippine side Kaya FC, who drew 1-1 with Lao Toyota of Laos in the other group match.