Home United not complacent vs. Phnom Penh Crown in AFC Cup
Home United will not get ahead of themselves in front of their own fans when they meet Phnom Penh Crown in the second leg of their AFC Cup qualifying playoff on Tuesday night, despite being ahead on aggregate.
Following a 4-3 win at the RSN Stadium in last Monday's first leg, the Protectors are in pole position to progress to Group H of the AFC Cup where they would take on Vietnam's Than Quang Ninh and Yadanarbon of Myanmar.
In possession of the aggregate lead, four away goals, as well as home advantage, the odds are firmly in favour of the S.League outfit against opponents who have previously never competed in the second-tier competition of Asian club football.
Still, Home coach Aidil Sharin is adamant his charges cannot afford to allow complacency to creep in their game at Jalan Besar Stadium.
"I like to think that one only half [of the tie] has been played," he said. "We still have the second half, and I still regard the score as 0-0.
"We're not going to sit back and just defend -- we'll still play our normal game, we want to play good football too since it's our home game and the boys are ready for it."
Aidil did admit that he is expecting a better job defensively from his team on Tuesday, a sentiment echoed by striker Stipe Plazibat.
"Of course, it's nice to have scored four away goals but we also conceded three," explained the Croat.
"We cannot talk about how confident we are in our offense without thinking about the defence," he said. "We need to talk about the team confidence.
"We are aware of the situation. We need to come back in this match stronger and show our real potential."
While Crown coach Sam Schweingruber is aware that they will enter the clash as underdogs, he insists they will take plenty of confidence from how the first leg panned out.
"We do believe we have a chance," said Schweingruber.
"Obviously, the game is 90 minutes, and we'll do whatever we can to make a miracle and get the win we need.
"We do have certain qualities and strengths that, if we do them well, we believe we have a chance in this game.
"The most important thing is that we believe and have our heads up with the vision not just to win, but the vision to play in the AFC Cup."
If the Cambodian outfit are to get a positive result in the second leg, one man who will be key to their prospects is talismanic captain and forward Shane Booysen.
The South African said: "We have a lot of respect for Home United and their players but, at the end of the day, we have to put that respect aside and the better team needs to win.
"We come here to fight and get the result we want -- it's not only a good opportunity for our young players, but to put Cambodia on the map and show we can do this.
"No matter what people are saying about our young team, we want to prove that we are capable of bringing the result back home."
With Crown never having appeared in the AFC Cup, Home are looking to qualify for the tournament for the eighth time, having last competed in 2014.
Gabriel Tan is a TV and radio pundit who writes for ESPN FC and The New Paper on Southeast Asian football. Twitter: @gabetan13.