Home United v. Persija Jakarta (League Game)
Home United comes from humble beginnings where it was a way for the Singaporean police to stay fit. With the creation of the new top-flight football division — the club’s name changed to Home United in homage to all of “HomeTeam” civil servants that made up the club. It has been around in some form since the 1940s.
Unlike most major leagues, the Singapore Premier League is open to competitors outside of Singapore. Interestingly, Home United finished 2nd in the competition because the winners, Albirex Niigata (and two others) are ineligible to compete in the AFC Cup or AFC Champions League because they are foreign clubs. There was a 23 point difference between the top club in the league and Home United. Home United have the third-best home form in the league, averaging two goals scored per game and just above one concession per game.
Although this AFC Champions League game is technically a home game for Home United, it’s occurring at Hougang United’s home stadium, Jalan Besar Stadium, which has nearly double the capacity of Home United’s. They were able to secure most of the points (25 of 36) on offer at home, but they have been able to obtain only half the points on the road. Perhaps it’s a technicality that they aren’t playing at home, but they won’t have any of the comforts of home. In contrast to their home form, in away games, they are averaging about 1.6 goals per game scored, and 1.5 goals conceded. Home United’s form indicates a fairly substantial change between home and away games. However, despite the difference in averages, the goal differential is only four fewer on the road (8 at home).
Persija Jakarta is one of the most successful clubs in the Indonesian Football top-flight. Although the first tier of the system has changed over the years, Persija has even titles to their name. They have also been competing in the top division for 28 straight seasons. Except for the most recent season (from which they qualified to the AFC Champions League) they’ve had substantially less success than they had in their early years.
The Indonesian football system has several tiers as well as an established first tier. The Liga 1 consists of 18 clubs, a 34 game schedule, and far greater parity than in any English Football League with only 25 points separated the teams from top to bottom. On the season, they’ve averaged about 1.5 goals scored per game and allowed one goal to scored against them. Their away form is pretty similar, with about 1.6 goals scored per game but concessions of nearly 1.4 goals allowed.
As I mentioned earlier, Persija has taken a bit of a hiatus from finishing in the top of the Indonesian Premier League — the last time (before this year) was 2001, and the one before that was in 1979). The AFC Continental opportunities have undergone massive change since Persija has been a part of them. They are very well supported both home and away locally, we’ll have to wait and see how they fare for games in the AFC Champions League. Their last continental appearance was in the 2001 Asian Club Championship (a precursor to the AFC Champions League), and they were unable to advance beyond the first round.
What to expect
In contrast to the first game I profiled, I think this will be a much lower scoring game. I think this matchup is going to come down to how good the team’s defense is. Both clubs have only a small difference between their goals scored and goals allowed, with both averaging around 1.5 concessions per game. The bookies seem to think that Persija is the likely winner of this matchup (by a fair margin) even though the last meeting (almost a year ago in the AFC Cup) ended in a convincing 3-1 win by Home United. These teams are competing for the opportunity to play Newcastle Jets from Australia in Preliminary Round 2.
Last Updated: January 31, 2019