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 By Kenneth Tan

Home United 'tired and unlucky' as Tampines pull clear in S.League

Home United have fallen way behind Tampines Rovers in the battle for second spot and will need to turn things around as the S.League heads into its final month.

The two-time champions host Garena Young Lions on Tuesday, knowing that they can't afford another slip up. With three matches remaining, they're seven points behind Tampines, with a game in hand.

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After a 2-0 loss to Tampines at home last Monday, they fell to a 2-1 defeat away to uniformed rivals Warriors FC on Friday night.

As Home's title chances were blown away, coach Aidil Sharin attributed the slump in form to a killer schedule.

"It's not easy as it was our third game in seven days," the former Singapore international said. "Iqram Rifqi [who played at left back] is new and his concentration can be better. That first goal [against Tampines], we gave it to them.

"We were unlucky because the boys tried very hard, especially in the second half. But kudos to Warriors, with [goalkeeper] Hyrulnizam [Juma'at] doing well to stop three to four goals from us.

"It's not easy for them to perform every game with two or three days of rest. With so many injuries, due to close fixtures, we will try our best for remaining games."

On the other hand, Tampines rode of the momentum of that win over Home in Bishan to clinch a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom side Garena Young Lions on Saturday.

Stags' coach Jurgen Raab was pleased to clinch the three points, but was not that happy with the defensive tactics laid out by his old side.

"I am a bit disappointed that the opponents did not come to play football today because they just defended for 90 minutes," the German, who coached Young Lions in 2015, said.

"I understand that it is a developmental team, but this should not be the future for Singapore football. They must show their talent on the pitch and not defend for 90 minutes in the hopes of scoring from a corner or a free kick.

"They are at the bottom of the table and everyone expects us to win by maybe four or five goals. This is sometimes difficult because it may make the players overconfident. But, the team did well today. We dominated for 90 minutes and created many chances."

The Stags are still mathematically in the title race, but will need to win their remaining games by massive margins and hope that Albirex lose by double digit scores.

To be 100 percent sure, Albirex need to secure a point against Warriors FC in Friday night's televised game to seal a second straight title.

Raab's side will play second-from-bottom Brunei DPMM away in Bandar Seri Begawan on the same night.

As for Home, they will be banking on home comforts to rack up the points as they host Young Lions on Tuesday, before welcoming in-form Geylang International four nights later.

Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT

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