ASEAN Zonal Semi-final - 1st Leg: Home United 3-2 Persija Jakarta
Singapore: Hafiz Nor’s long-range winner ensured Singapore’s Home United will take a slender one-goal lead into the second leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-final next week after claiming a 3-2 victory over Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.
Home United opened the scoring in the second minute when Shahril Ishak cut inside Novri Setiawan down the right and delivered a teasing cross which the unfortunate Maman Abdurrahman headed into his own net.
Then in the ninth minute Song Ui-young burst past Abdurrahman and found himself clear on goal after Vava Yagalo lost his footing, but the midfielder still had work to do and remained composed to slip the ball past goalkeeper Rizky Darmawan and into the bottom left corner.
Persija came back into the game as the half wore on and Yagalo headed just over from Ismed Sofyan’s corner from the right in the 27th minute.
The Indonesian side’s pressure soon paid off, though, as five minutes later Ramdhani Lestaluhu headed home Riko Simanjuntak’s corner from the left to throw the tie wide open.
Simanjuntak’s flying volley from the edge of the area was well saved by Home United goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah four minutes after the interval, but from the ensuing corner parity was restored.
Once more it was Simanjuntak who delivered from the left and, just as with the visitors’ opening goal, Lestaluhu got on the end of it to head past Khairullah and delight the travelling Persija fans.
But Home United went back in front against the run of play with 11 minutes remaining when substitute Nor’s speculative effort from 30 yards went under the arms of Darmawan to swing the game in the hosts’ favour once more.
Anumanthan Kumar could have added another after being picked out by Sirina Camara a minute from time but shot straight as Darmawan as the game ended 3-2 ahead of the second leg in Jakarta next Tuesday.