News • June 17, 2016
Rejuvenated Tigers Wary Of Ferocious Stags
Written by: Shawn Lim
Balestier Khalsa vs Tampines Rovers
(Friday, 17 June, 8pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Boosted by their second Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League win of the season, a rejuvenated Balestier Khalsa are determined to carry on their revival when they take on Tampines Rovers at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
Having had to experiment with different formations and tactics over the course of the season because main striker Robert Pericic was stricken with injury, the Tigers are naturally picking up points again after reverting back to their tried-and-trusted 4-4-2 formation.
The arrival of new striker Niko Tokic has allowed Balestier to play to their strengths, which is to perfectly blend defending and attacking, making use of their midfield to control the game and wingers to provide the crosses for Tokic to either hold up the ball or go for goal.
That has allowed Marko Kraljevic’s charges to arrest their dreadful start to the season and beat Home United 3-1 the last time out, which extended the Tigers unbeaten run to three games.
“Without Pericic, we had to use formations like 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1 and that is not our strength, that is not what we are comfortable with,” explained Kraljevic after Balestier’s victory over the Protectors.
“Now with Tokic, you can see from the last game, we are getting better and better as he is able to hold the ball up for us.”
“Add on the fact that the boys were working very hard as usual, that is why we are playing well now.”
While confidence is sky high at the Toa Payoh-based club, they will have to be extra-prepared for a rampant Tampines side who has notched up 10 goals in their last two games.
Having handed the Garena Young Lions a 6-1 thrashing the last time, the Stags are determined to prevent league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) from running away with the title by destroying everything in their path.
Even then, new coach Akbar Nawas is not satisfied with his team performances and is demanding more from the Jurong West-based club.
“To be honest, the scoreline was good but I wasn’t quite pleased with our first-half performance because it was too casual,” explained Akbar after his charges’ victory over the Young Lions.
“There are certain parts of the game we still need to work on because a quicker team could have punished us.”
Shah Hirul and Emir Lotinac remain doubtful for the Tigers after the former came off with an injury against Home, while the latter is still recovering from a rib injury. Hazzuwan Halim will also remain on the sidelines as he is recovering from collarbone surgery.
As for the Stags, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud and Noh Rahman remain on the sidelines, while Shahdan Sulaiman will remain a long-term injury absentee.
Balestier Khalsa – LLDDW
14/06/16 Home United 1-3 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
10/06/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Hougang United (S.League)
20/05/16 Warriors FC 1-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
14/05/16 Balestier Khalsa 1-3 Geylang International (S.League)
10/05/16 Kitchee SC 4-0 Balestier Khalsa (AFC Cup)
Tampines Rovers – LDWWW
14/06/16 Tampines Rovers 6-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
11/06/16 Tampines Rovers 4-3 Brunei DPMM (S.League)
24/05/16 Mohun Bagan 1-2 Tampines Rovers (AFC Cup)
17/05/16 Warriors FC 0-0 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
13/05/16 Tampines Rovers 1-2 Home United (S.League)
Head to Head (S.League)
07/04/16 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
05/11/15 Balestier Khalsa 4-3 Tampines Rovers
21/08/15 Tampines Rovers 0-0 Balestier Khalsa
22/04/15 Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Tampines Rovers
18/10/14 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa