Singapore Premier League • May 1, 2014

Razip: We Will Keep Trying

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Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

First-half strikes from Zulkiffli Hassim and Goran Ljubojevic saw Balestier Khalsa run out 2-0 winners over Harimau Muda at Toa Payoh Stadium on Wednesday evening as the former snapped their six-match winless run in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.

For Harimau though, it was their tenth defeat of the season but coach Razip Ismail refused to throw in the towel just yet despite the unfavourable circumstances his team are in at the moment.

“I think we are in a very difficult position where the games are getting tougher because of our situation where we don’t have any points yet no matter how hard we try,” he said.

“Every game is like that. We are controlling it and if you look at the statistics we are not far from our opponents. The only thing is that our opponents took their chances well. It’s quite disappointing because the players tried their best in the second-half but just could not find the goal we needed.

“But we have to carry on and keep believing.  We are trying to get our first point and even though it’s very difficult after ten games and now that we are entering second round, we have no other choice but to work.”

According to Razip, injuries have not helped either.

“The only problem I am facing now is injuries to key players,” he admitted.

“I’m facing a lot of injuries, after every game I will lose two to three players to injuries. After tonight’s game I don’t know how many players will be out for next game and I am still hoping we can put up the best team whenever we play.”

Meanwhile, Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic believed three points was what mattered at the end of the day although he still saw room for improvement from his charges.

“Yes, it [the win] is a relief and everything is starting to fall back in place again,” the Croatian said.

“We scored the goals and got the win. It was not beautiful game but three points and I think we can do much better.”

He continued: “Our passing was not so good today but I can understand. Players make mistakes and they are afraid of that happening. What’s important is just this win, we needed it.”

With the return of playmaker Park Kang Jin from injury, Kraljevic was confident that things can only improve in the upcoming games to come.

“Park is slowly coming back and he’s started training. We have nine days to prepare for the next game [against Hougang United] and I think Park could be more ready for the second half of the season,” he shared.

“This is about Park, about key passes. We don’t have key passes and we don’t have players who can split opponent’s defences. Our play is predictable.

“With Park around, we can do it. We just don’t have this guy who puts in the ball, we are missing him a lot. He started training and you can see the difference. He can hold, dictate rhythm of the play. With him around many things can happen.”