Brunei DPMM take on Home United in their first match of the ongoing S.League season at Bandar Seri Begawan Stadium on Friday.
The hosts will be happy to begin their campaign at home, where they were nearly invincible last season, losing only three games. Home, on the other hand, will travel to Brunei, fresh from their 6-1 win over Gerena Young Lions last week at the Bishan Stadium.
After beating Cambodia's Phnom Penh Crown over two legs of AFC Cup qualifier, Home lost the AFC Cup opener against Yadanarbon earlier this month. However, coach Aidil Sharin reportedly believes that the revamped unit is gradually finding its form despite struggling against top teams ahead of their league campaign.
The addition of last season's Hougang United top-scorer Stipe Plazibat has added firepower to the frontline. The Croatian striker has combined well with the likes of Faris Ramli and Adam Swandi in the midfield and has already scored six goals in three games, including the four he scored against the Young Lions. Also, Home's defensive unit, which leaked the second highest number of goals among the nine teams last season (42), is looking stronger with the likes of Afiq Younus and Irfan Fandi along with Singapore custodian Hassan Sunny.
Sharin would want to believe that his new-look side will be able to fare better against Brunei, who finished third, a spot above Home last season. Notably, the Protectors lost two of their three outings against Steve Kean's team, both on the road.
Brunei, who have roped in former Tampines Rovers' striker Billy Mehmet and experienced Frenchman Francois Marque, will want to make the most of the home advantage and begin their campaign on a high.
Squad: Sitom, Petara, Sisa, Fakhrazzi, Abdul Hadi, Saleh, Ali, Azam, Mehmet, Othman, Tarif, Kasmi, Kamis, Zambin, Izamuddin, Anwar, Roslan, Zakuan, Ramazotti, Said, Marque, Razen, Putera, Ismail, Yussof
Possible XI: Hassan; Jantan, Qaiyyim, Fandi, Shafiq, Camara; Ramli, Song, Kamal, Plazibat, Swandi