Warriors FC came from two goals down to share the spoils in an exciting 2-2 draw with Home United in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturday night.
The Protectors were cruising to victory after a brace from Stipe Plazibat, but Shahril Ishak had other ideas as he struck twice in the final nine minutes to rescue a point for Warriors.
Six minutes was all it took for Home to break the deadlock as Plazibat converted from the spot after he was brought down by Hyrulnizam Juma’at in the box, having latched onto Khairul Nizam’s flick-on.
It was all-Home thereafter as they created chance after chance and could have wrapped up the game early on, if not for some brave defending from Warriors.
Aidil Sharin’s side could have doubled their lead two minutes after the opener but Hyrulnizam did well to tip Adam Swandi’s looping header over the bar.
Plazibat then curled a freekick wide from a dangerous area on 23 minutes before setting up Van Huizen for a shot which flew over moments later.
Warriors meanwhile found their feet and had an opportunity to level things but Afiq Yunos recovered in time to prevent Joel Tshibamba from pulling the trigger shortly after the half-hour mark.
Tshibamba then had the best chance of the half for Warriors in the 35th minute but his header off a corner found the side-netting instead.
Plazibat nearly added to his tally at the other end a minute later but saw his effort hacked off the line by Ridhuan Muhammad, who started at right-back for Warriors.
Adam, Khairul Nizam and captain Song Uiyoung then had opportunities to extend Home’s advantage but their attempts on goal were unable to trouble Hyrulnizam.
Plazibat however helped Home pull further away in the 49th minute when he controlled a long ball before firing a half-volley past a hapless Hyrulnizam for his tenth league goal of the season.
As was the case in the first-half, Home continued to threaten and Khairul Nizam could have put the result beyond all doubt in the 53rd minute but his header off Shamil Sharif’s cross went the wrong side of the post.
Nizam was then denied by the excellent Ho Wai Loon who got back to put a timely block after Hyrulnizam had spilled the former’s initial shot.
The hosts were reduced to ten men in the 70th minute with Hafiz Osman receiving his marching orders after he picked up his second yellow of the night.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Warriors managed to pull one back with nine minutes remaining when Shahril earned a penalty after he was adjudged to have been brought down by Afiq in the box.
The 33-year-old dusted himself off and sent Home goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah the wrong way from the spot to reduce the deficit.
The comeback was complete in the 87th minute when an unmarked Shahril headed home a cross from substitute Fazli Jaffar to equalise and deny Home all three points.
The result meant that both teams have yet to register a loss in the league, with Warriors unbeaten in six and Home in five.
Warriors FC Head Coach Razif Onn: “From the Garena Young Lions to the Brunei DPMM game, it was the same thing. We didn’t play well in the first-half until midway through the second-half.
“We started to make changes, and put Fazli (Jaffar) in. That’s where the crosses come in and we took advantage of that to put Home under pressure. With ten men, it was a fantastic feeling to come back in the last minute.”
Home United Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “I thought we controlled the first-half very well. In the second-half, we still managed to create good chances in the first 20 to 30 minutes.
“Stipe (Plazibat) did very well today and scored two goals. We had a couple of chances from (Khairul) Nizam and Christopher (Van Huizen). If you don’t do that, they will punish you and that’s what happened tonight.
Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Ridhuan Muhamad (Syaqir Sulaiman 58’), Joel Tshibamba (Fazli Jaffar 67’), Jordan Webb, Baihakki Khaizan (C), Shahril Ishak, Hafiz Nor, Firdaus Kasman, Ho Wai Loon
Home United: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Hariss Harun, Afiq Yunos, Song Uiyoung (C), Stipe Plazibat, Sirina Camara, Khairul Nizam (Faris Ramli 57’), Shamil Sharif, Irfan Fandi, Christopher van Huizen (Amiruldin Asraf 74’), Adam Swandi
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui