SINGAPORE - A stunning goal by Yasir Hanapi was the only bright spot for 10-man Home United as they were held 1-1 by unfancied Courts Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
The result took the title-chasing Protectors (in blue) up to second in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League table.
But they are still five points adrift of leaders Brunei DPMM, who have a game in hand.
Much was expected of the Bishan giants, who beat the in-form Warriors FC 4-1 last Friday in impressive fashion.
But, even before Home captain Noh Rahman was sent off in the 53rd minute after picking up two yellow cards, the team struggled to carve out chances against the Young Lions.
Protectors coach Lee Lim Saeng was disappointed by the referee's decision to send Noh off, and felt the match was a missed opportunity for his team.
"We should have beaten them tonight, but it's not easy to play 11 players with just 10," said the glum coach, after the game.
"The Young Lions showed a good mentality tonight, and athletically, they were better than us.
"We had chances in the second half but missed them. It's difficult to blame our players but we have to learn."
Lee, however, reserved some praise for goalscorer Yasir.
"He saved the team tonight. He's not just good technically, but he also covers his teammates, scores goals and can play many positions. "I love it, and I respect him a lot."
Aide Iskandar's Young Lions started the game brightly and got a deserved goal after just 15 minutes, when Shamil Sharif steered the ball home from close range.