Home United kept alive their faint S.League title hopes by defeating Hougang United 2-0 at Hougang Stadium on Sunday night.
Second-half goals from Abdil Qaiyyim and Stipe Plazibat ensured the Protectors won the battle of the beaten Singapore Cup semifinalists to close the gap between them and leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to 10 points, with two games in hand.
It was a closely fought first half, with Hougang doing well to contain Home's attacking duo of Faris Ramli and Plazibat.
The Protectors did not have much to sniff about, bar an opportunity on 23 minutes from which Hougang goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid managed to close down Plazibat.
The home side did have a couple of chances in the first 20 minutes, but Faiz Salleh and Fabian Kwok sent their efforts straight at Home's national custodian Hassan Sunny.
Philippe Aw's men could have broken the deadlock just before half-time, but Fumiya Kogure sent his header from Zulfahmi Arifin's free kick wide of the right-hand post.
Kogure had another attempt early in the second half, but his 40-yard free-kick flew way over the bar.
Home brightened up after that, and produced the opening goal in the 54th minute.
Plazibat smartly flicked on Izzdin Shafiq's inswinging corner into the path of Abdil, who needed no second invitations to nod home from close range.
Aidil Sharin's side then spurned two opportunities to double their advantage, with Plazibat and substitute Iqram Rifiqi failing to capitalise.
Hougang then threw on Pablo Rodriguez in a bid to find the equaliser, but the Spanish forward lasted just nine minutes on the pitch before being replaced due to a hamstring injury.
The visitors would seal the win in the 69th minute. Plazibat broke free of Hougang's offside trap before rounding Khairulhin for his 33rd goal in 31 games in 2017.
It was the 28-year-old's fourth goal in as many games against his old employers this season.
In Sunday night's other S.League game, Tampines Rovers came from behind twice to defeat Geylang International 3-2 to stay four points clear of Home in second.
Shawal Anuar's early goal was cancelled out by Stags captain Mustafic Fahrudin, before Yuki Ichikawa put the Eagles in front again early in the second half.
The substitutes did the trick for Jurgen Raab's side, as Fazrul Nawaz and Fazli Ayob scored on 72 and 89 minutes respectively to turn the game around.
Hougang United: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Delwinder Singh, Atsushi Shirota, Zulfahmi Arifin, Nazrul Nazari, Syahiran Miswan, Fabian Kwok, Faiz Salleh (Ali Hudzaifi 62'), Nurhilmi Jasni (C) (Pablo Rodriguez 66', Fairoz Hasan 75'), Fumiya Kogure, Iqbal Hussain
Home United: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Aqhari Abdullah, Abdil Qaiyyim, Hariss Harun, Juma'at Jantan (Iqram Rifi 57'), Faris Ramli, Izzdin Shafiq (Haziq Azman 90'), M. Anumanthan, Sirina Camara (Sufianto Salleh 75'), Adam Swandi, Stipe Plazibat