AFC Cup: Indra's back

AFC Cup: Indra's back

He was happy just to get back on the pitch for a run-out after recovering from a broken leg suffered last September.

But veteran Home United striker Indra Sahdan delivered so much more, when he smashed home the winner against Churchill Brothers last night in front of 1,020 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium to keep his team's AFC Cup hopes alive.

"It's great to be back," said the 35-year-old, who broke his left leg in an international match against Hong Kong last year.

"I have no problems with fitness and my touches are still there, but I didn't expect to play for so long and score the winner.

"The management has taken great care of the injured players, and the best way to repay the club is to be committed and give our best."

It was another comeback kid, Fazrul Nawaz, who kept up his scoring streak since returning from a skull fracture by grabbing the opener with a deft chip in the 25th minute following good build-up play by Izzdin Shafiq and Yasir Hanapi.

The visitors drew level just a minute later following a horrendous own-goal by Precious Emuejeraye, who fluffed a clearance badly for the ball to spin off the turf and beyond his goalkeeper Shahril Jantan.

The Protectors dominated proceedings over the Indian club but just could not make it count, until Indra's introduction in the 54th minute.

In the 72nd minute, Bruno Castanheira did well down the right flank and cut the ball back for Indra to blast past Thapa Lalit.

It was a classic poacher's strike, but Indra insisted any talk of a return to the national fold was premature, even if Singapore are missing a prolific forward.

"If I get called up, I'll definitely agree because it's like national duty," he said.

"But I'm already 35, I don't expect it, and I think the young players are doing okay."

With their first win in Group E in four games, Home revived their hopes of finishing in the top two and advancing to the knockout stage of the competition.

Coach Lee Lim Saeng paid tribute to Indra for keeping the team in the running.

"I'm happy Indra and Fazrul are back and scoring to provide healthy competition," he added.

"We can still go through, but we have to take the AFC Cup one game at a time."

This article was published on April 3 in The New Paper.

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