SINGAPORE - Home United paid for their shoddy finish in front of goal as they were held to a 1-1 draw Tuesday night by Indonesia's Persipura Jayapura in their AFC Cup Group E clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The Protectors had at least three chances to add to Yasir Hanapi's 25th-minute opener but were pegged back by substitute Yohanes Pahabol's equaliser 16 minutes from the end.
"Even though we were unable to finish off the many chances we created, I do not blame the players," coach Lee Lim Saeng said.
"(However), we need to improve our technique to be better than tonight." Coupled with Churchill Brothers' 3-0 win over New Radiant, the result left the Protectors at the bottom of Group E, with one point from two games.
The hosts had gone into the match keen to atone for their 0-1 loss in the Maldives to New Radiant in their opening fixture on Feb 25.
But with an injury-depleted squad, coach Lee was forced to hand youngster Syahiran Miswan a start while having just four substitutes on the bench.
Yasir temporarily eased Home's nerves when he fired them into the lead. Put through by playmaker Lee Kwan Woo, he calmly looped the ball over goalkeeper Yoo Jae Hoon.
Persipura were forced to ditch their conservative gameplan as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
But while their full-backs moved upfield to support the attacks, they also left huge gaps in the defence, which Home's attackers tried in vain to exploit. However, when Qiu Li and Izzdin Shafiq were put through on goal, they could not put the chances away.
Their inability to finish off the game paved the way for Pahabol, who also scored in his team's previous AFC Cup game, stroking the ball past the goalkeeper after it fell to him in the penalty area.
"We may have been lucky to get a point off Home United but they were lucky to get the same as both teams made mistakes during the game," said Persipura coach Jacksen Tiago.
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