SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE
Warriors FC 0
Home United 2
There were at least two drums brought into the Choa Chu Kang Stadium last night and, from time to time, they were heard from their respective positions on either end of the stands, where the opposing fan groups sat.
But, like Warriors FC and Home United players out on the pitch, the drum beats were off rhythm, placidly worked and hardly excited the senses.
And it was hardly surprising that it needed a mistake to spark the game into life, and a moment of brilliance to settle the fixture, with Home running out 2-0 winners.
Hafiz Nor's mishit 43rd-minute volley was the best chance of what was a drab first half and, even though the weak shot wrong-footed Warriors goalkeeper Mukundan Maran, it came off the post and was eventually cleared.
Three minutes after the break, Mukundan was caught out by an Izzdin Shafiq free kick from some 40m out.
The goalkeeper appeared to be expecting a cross but, instead, saw the ball sail over his head and into the far corner.
"That first goal killed us. In the first half, we were very disciplined and I think we had better chances. But, in the second half, I don't know why we played like this, maybe it was this goal," said Warriors' coach Mirko Grabovac.
This was Warriors FC's third home defeat.
OTHER SPL RESULTS
Hougang United 1
Albirex Niigata 2
Young Lions 1
Geylang International 3
Tampines Rovers 0
Brunei DPMM 2
"The team fought so hard, and then we conceded two easy goals just like that."
The Izzdin goal sparked some life into the game, with the effervescent Shahril Ishak firing home in the 76th minute to double the Home lead.
But there were other chances before that. Home's Hafiz again came close in the 59th minute when he was sent through on goal by Aqhari Abdullah.
But Mukundan redeemed himself, coming out quickly to smother the chance and prevent his team from going two goals behind.
The Warriors had their chances too, coming close through second-half substitute Sahil Suhaimi on two occasions.
The first was a 66th-minute header that bounced off the crossbar, with the 26-year-old equally unfortunate with his second attempt - a free kick that curled over the Home wall but clipped the far post.
But the Warriors wilted towards the end of the game to lose at home for the third time this season.
"This was exactly what we needed - three points that are crucial to us, especially when we have so many players out injured," said Home coach Aidil Shahrin.