Home United beat Loyola Meralco Sparks 2-1 in the second leg of their Singapore Cup quarter-final tie on Thursday to advance to the last four with a 4-1 aggregate win.
Despite entering the clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium holding a two-goal cushion from the first leg, Home nearly fell behind after nine minutes when their opponents had an excellent chance.
Pouncing on a loose ball after Graham Caygill had pressured Precious Emuejeraye into giving away possession, Phil Younghusband advanced on goal before drilling in a powerful low shot but Shahril Jantan did brilliantly to save it onto the bar.
But in the 20th minute, the Protectors were handed the perfect opportunity to edge ahead on the night when Qiu Li latched onto Lee Kwan-woo’s incisive through-ball and was set to burst through.
However, the Singapore international was hauled down by Joaquin Canas leaving referee Taqi Jahari no choice but to award a penalty, which Lee clinically dispatched after sending Baba Sampana the wrong way.
And just five minutes later, the visitors doubled their tally after a sweeping counterattack saw Bruno Castanheira feed the ball to the overlapping Sirina Camara, who played in a perfect cross for Qiu to slot into the back of the net.
The Sparks did manage to pull one back in the 58th minute through a fine solo effort from Phil Younghusband; the 26-year-old receiving possession from Simon Greatwich and running at the opposition defence before blasting an excellent shot past Shahril into the top corner.
Nonetheless, it ultimately proved to be a mere consolation as Home played out the remainder of the game to book their place in the semis in convincing fashion.
Loyola Meralco Sparks: Baba Sampana, Alexandro Elnar, Samuel Bonney (Peter Fadrigalan 69’), Joaquin Canas, Bongbong Dorlas, Simon Greatwich, Lee Joo Young, Matthew Hartmann, James Younghusband, Phil Younghusband (Paolo Bugas 84’), Graham Caygill (Arnel Amita 84’).
Home United: Shahril Jantan, Kwon Dakyung, Precious Emuejeraye, Song Inyoung, Sirina Camara, Noh Rahman, Yasir Hanapi, Juma’at Jantan (Indra Sahdan Daud 73’), Lee Kwan Woo (Masrezwan Masturi 46’), Bruno Castanheira, Qiu Li (Fazrul Nawaz 61’).