Singapore Cup • June 30, 2014
Coaches Praise Balestier’s Second Half Performance
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Balestier Khalsa secured a 2-1 victory over Geylang International in the first leg quarter-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup, leaving coach Marko Kraljevic grinning from ear to ear.
“I am very happy tonight and it is an amazing result,” he started off.
“It was pure hardwork from every single player which awarded us the victory tonight.”
Despite being reduced to ten-man before half-time, the Tigers managed to bag in two goals in the second half to complete the comeback and seal the win.
“I know these players for six months already and I know what they are capable of – a possible comeback for tonight,” he expressed.
“I believed we could make the comeback and I told them that at the interval.
“I think that being one goal and a man down at half-time does not completely write off our chances, and I am very pleased that we made it.”
The Croatian then admitted that the first half did not go his way, but the second half was a completely different story.
“We did not play well in the first half; it was an off-day”, Kraljevic mentioned.
“Our passes were not good enough and we needed time to settle down in the game, maybe that is because we have had around seven games in one month.
“But our second half was excellent.
“Every player had to top up an additional 10-20% of effort since we were a man down and that would be enough to reach probably 110% as a team. Using that, we overwrote Geylang’s hardwork.”
His counterpart, Jorg Steinebrunner was disappointed with the defeat, considering that they lost although they had an additional man.
“My players should take full responsibility of the defeat as a team, being professional footballers,” he said, before going on to explain what went wrong.
“For the first 20 minutes of the second half, we forgot to play football.
“We knew Balestier would come out and give everything; the players started to compete and had nothing to lose.
“We gifted them the two goals. We did not chase the players down when they were pressing on us.”
The German believed that only after trailing was when his side started going forward.
“After we conceded, that was when we started to compete and show energy,” he admitted.
“If we had played that way since the start, it would have been a different story.”
The former S.League player also praised his opponents for the win.
“Credits to Balestier for the two goals, it did not look as though they were a man down,” he explained.