Singapore Premier League • April 6, 2014
Protectors Depose Tigers to Climb to Fifth
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Home United moved up to fifth spot in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table after a narrow 2-1 victory over Balestier Khalsa in a mouth-watering encounter at Bishan Stadium on Saturday evening.
Goran Ljubojevic’s second half goal was not enough to cancel out first half goals by Bruno Castanheira and Qiu Li, and ensured that the Protectors clinched all three points.
The uniformed team were relentless right from the first whistle, as Ismail Yunos’ long ball was well-met by Fazrul Nawaz, but the striker’s first-time effort sailed just over the bar.
In the 31st minute, Balestier were presented with the best chance of the half, when Emir Lotinac released a low cross from the right into the path of Zulkiffli Hassim, but the striker agonisingly failed to get a clean touch on the ball as it rolled wide from the open goal.
Home eventually went ahead three minutes later through Bruno, who got brought down by Sofiyan Hamid just inside the 18-yard area. The Japanese stepped up and sent Zaiful Nizam the wrong way with a penalty which beautifully struck the top corner.
The hosts were not contented with a mere one-goal cushion and wanted one more to loosen their shoulders before the interval.
A 30-yard run by Sirina Camara was followed by a low shot which was deflected and caught by the Balestier custodian, before Yasir Hanapi skipped past Jonathan Xu and blasted his shot over the upright.
The lead was finally doubled just a minute before half-time. Bruno made a run on the right before sending a grounder-cross into the path of Qiu Li, who sweetly finished it off into Zaiful’s bottom corner.
The second half saw the visitors get hungrier for a goal, as Ljubojevic’s finish was spectacularly cleared off the line by Kwon Dakyung while Ruhaizad Ismail’s free-kick brushed off the post in the 69th minute.
The visitors did earn a deserved consolation three minutes before time, when Syed Thaha floated in a cross for Ljubojevic to head past Shahril Jantan but that was too little too late as the Tigers slumped to their second defeat of the season.