Singapore Cup • May 28, 2014
Balestier Earn Impressive Win Over Warriors
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Balestier Khalsa joined Tanjong Pagar United in the quarter-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup after overcoming Warriors FC 3-1 in the preliminary round match at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Zulkiffli Hassim put Balestier into the lead after six minutes before Miroslav Pejic levelled for the 2012 Singapore Cup winners on the stroke of half-time.
Goran Ljubojevic and Park Kang Jin then wrapped the win for the Tigers in the second-half to send them into the last eight of the competition.
After impressing against Brunei DPMM days ago, Warriors winger Suria Prakash was rewarded with another start while the Tigers were without the services of the suspended Ridwan Jamil.
In place of Ridwan was Jonathan Xu who put in a good shift alongside Tajeli Salamat in an unorthodox midfield pairing behind Park and both players did a decent job in nullifying the attacking threat from the Warriors.
However, it did not prevent Warriors from creating nearly half a dozen of goalscoring opportunities in the first-half although none found the net.
The home side almost got off to a flyer in the second minute but Velez saw his initial shot saved by Zaiful before he sent a header over from the rebound.
That miss proved costly as Balestier went ahead against the run of play.
Latching onto compatriot Kim Minho’s through pass, Park Kang Jin then unselfishly squared the ball across goal for an unmarked Zulkiffli to finish past Hassan Sunny.
Alex Weaver’s side tried to muster a response after going behind but Zaiful pulled off a flying save to deny Velez in the 14th minute before Hafiz Rahim scuffed his effort from outside the area minutes later.
Just as Balestier were celebrating going into the break with the lead, Pejic had other ideas as he curled a freekick which deflected off the wall to equalise with seconds to go in the first-half.
After the break, Irwan Shah could have put Warriors in front for the first time in the match on 56 minutes but poked his shot from a tight angle straight at the legs of Zaiful.
Just like it was the case in the first-half, Balestier took advantage of their opponent’s profligacy and took the lead once more in the 62nd minute with Zulkiffli turning provider.
Capitalising on a defensive mix-up in the penalty box, Zulkiffli pounced on the loose ball before cutting it back for Ljubojevic to slot into an unguarded net to make it 2-1.
It prompted Weaver to go for broke but that only left gaps at the back which Balestier exploited as Park rifled home a 20-yard strike which found its way into Hassan’s bottom corner to settle affairs thirteen minutes from time.