(HOM: Sirina Camara 12’; Kwon Da-kyung 14’; Lee Kwan-woo 27’; Sofiyan Abdul Hamid 90+2’ TPU: Kamel Ramdani 89’)
Home United were crowned the 2013 RHB Singapore Cup champions on Friday after cruising to a 4-1 win over Tanjong Pagar United at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Reporting from the Jalan Besar Stadium
In a scintillating display that their opponents had no answer for, the Protectors edged ahead in the 12th minute through Sirina Camara’s close-range effort, before Kwon Da-kyung added a second two minutes later with a powerful header.
Three minutes before the half-hour mark, Lee Kwan-woo made it 3-0 by applying the finishing touches to a sweeping attack, although Tanjong Pagar did manage to pull one back in the 89th minute when Kamel Ramdani scored after a horrible gaffe by opposition keeper Shahril Jantan.
But it was Home who had the final say in injury-time when substitute Sofiyan Abdul Hamid broke free and added a fourth to cap off a fantastic evening for them.
As one of the traditional giants of Singaporean football, Home entered the game looking to end the season with silverware after the disappointment of once again losing out to Tampines Rovers in the Great Eastern-YEO’s S.League title race.
Nonetheless, they were on an excellent run of form having won 13 of their past 14 games, while the Jaguars had been victorious just once in their last 10.
And it was the Protectors who got off to a brighter start, dominating the early proceedings before taking the lead in the 12th minute when Lee Kwan-woo’s corner found Ismail Yunos at the near post. Although his header came smashing off the bar, the ball fell kindly to Camara, who made no mistake in smashing the rebound home from two yards out.
Just two minutes later, Home doubled their advantage from another set-piece situation; Lee once again whipping in a lovely delivery that was met by Kwon with a powerful header into the back of the net.
Having fallen behind inside a quarter of an hour, it was no surprise that Tanjong Pagar were looking shell-shocked and things got worse in the 27th minute when their opponents grabbed a third; Hafiz Rahim breaking free down the right before cutting the ball back for Lee to stab into the bottom corner.
The Protectors then had an excellent chance to make it 4-0 five minutes before halftime when Jordan Webb charged down the left and crossed to Hafiz, who played the ball right to the unmarked Firdaus Idros, but his firm effort drew a smart save from Aurelien Herisson.
With the game seemingly already in the bag, Home came out after the break content to sit back and hold on to their commanding lead, but that did allow the opposition to come into the game.
Five minutes into the second half, the Jaguars finally carved out their first real opening when Monsef Zerka raced clear but just as he was about to advance into the area, Camara raced across to halt him with a firm sliding challenge.
Asraf Rashid was next to threaten the Home goal when he lined up a 25-yard freekick and unleashed a firm strike, only to send it straight at Shahril.
But as the second half wore on, they just failed to create any clear-cut opportunities as the prospect of a memorable comeback faded with each passing minute.
Zerka did have another chance in the 84th minute after a right-wing cross made its way to him at the far post, but with plenty of the goal to aim for, he somehow managed to send his shot straight into the recovering Kwon.
To make matters worse, the Jaguars found themselves down to ten men four minutes later when Walid Lounis received a second yellow for a late challenge.
Nonetheless, Tanjong Pagar did manage to pull one a minute from time after Shahril decided to be overly fancy and dallied in possession before sending his attempted clearance straight into Ramdani, who was left with a simple tap-in after the veteran goalkeeper raced back to claw the ball away from goal.
Still, the night belonged to Home, who rounded things off in the second minute of injury-time when Song Ui-young chipped a lovely through-ball to Sofiyan, who got in behind Zahid Ahmad and latched onto the ball before firing past Herisson with aplomb.
Home United: Shahril Jantan, Ismail Yunos (Sevki Sha’ban 48’), Noh Rahman, Sirina Camara, Kwon Da-kyung, Nor Azli Yusoff (Sofiyan Abdul Hamid 63’), Song Ui-young, Firdaus Idros, Hafiz Rahim, Jordan Webb, Lee Kwan-woo (Haziq Azman 84’).
Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson, Hafiz Osman, Walid Lounis, Anthony Aymard, Zahid Ahmad, Ahmad Latiff, John Wilkinson (Hafiz Nor 52’), Ismael Benahmed (Hanafi Salleh 73’), Kamel Ramdani, Asraf Rashid, Monsef Zerka.