Singapore Cup • October 5, 2018
Singapore Cup Preview: Home and Balestier vow to slug it out
Shahril Ishak has enjoyed a fine season for Home United.
SINGAPORE, 4 OCT 2018 – After suffering heartbreak in their respective semi-final ties, Home United FC and Balestier Khalsa FC have to recover fast as they meet in the RHB Singapore Cup third-place playoff at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday evening, 6 October. The match will kick off at 5.00pm.
BACKGROUND Both teams gave as good as they had in the Singapore Cup, but eventually came unstuck against over the two-legged semi-finals.
After losing the first leg 3-2, Home put up a good attacking show in the second leg only to be continually thwarted by evergreen goalkeeper Yohsuke Nozawa as reigning champions Albirex Niigata FC (S) eventually edged it 1-0.
Meanwhile, Balestier produced a spirited response to a 2-0 first-leg defeat by going two goals up in the first half of the second leg to level the score on aggregate. However the Tigers faded away in the second half with Brunei DPMM FC scoring two late goals to progress.
Both sides faced off at this stage back in 1999, with the Protectors pipping the Tigers (then known as Balestier Central before the merger with Clementi Khalsa) to third place.
Both coaches have stated that they will take this game seriously, so expect a fiercely-fought battle come Saturday evening.
“We are not going to reserve our energy. I want to motivate my boys to give it one last shot,” said Home’s Aidil Sharin. “We want to be the best local team – be it in the league or in the Cup.”
“We’re going to try our best to finish third,” echoed Balestier’s Marko Kraljevic, who won the 2014 Singapore Cup in his first season in charge of the club. “Getting the players to forget the DPMM game and move on to this game is the toughest job for me right now.”
Home are targeting a second straight third-placed Singapore Cup finish in as many years, while Balestier are looking for their best performance in this competition since losing to Ceres-La Salle (now known as Ceres-Negros) 2-1 to finish fourth in 2016.
Home will be at full-strength, with captain Izzdin Shafiq returning from suspension.
Balestier will have to contend without the services of main left-back Ahmad Syahir as he is suspended for accumulating two yellow cards.
15/07/18: Home 1-1 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
19/05/18: Balestier 2-1 Home – Singapore Premier League
04/04/18: Home 3-1 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
20/10/17: Home 2-0 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
03/07/17: Balestier 1-2 Home – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR
Shahril Ishak – Home
Shahril’s disappointment on Wednesday night after the loss to Albirex was clear as he spent some time alone on the Bishan Stadium pitch before trudging off to join his teammates. The 34-year-old forward will be looking to turn that setback into strength as national teammate Zaiful Nizam stands in between him and his quest of adding to a tally of 20 goals in all competitions.
Huzaifah Aziz – Balestier
It has been a dream season for Huzaifah, who received his maiden Singapore call-up on Wednesday after impressing in the heart of the Tigers midfield and capped it off with a well-taken fifth goal of the season on the same night. The 24-year-old will be relishing the opportunity to test his credentials against Izzdin – a competitor for the midfield slots in the Lions team.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID
Home head coach Aidil Sharin: “We still have a lot of things to improve as a team. We made mistakes earlier in the season and gave away cheap points. But it’s important that we improved game by game and we ended the league season with an 11-match unbeaten run.
“We have a great team spirit and we showed we can play without stars this season, if you play as a team. Youngsters like Iqram (Rifqi), Faizal (Roslan) and Kenji (Rusydi) played so many games this season, with the senior players guiding them. I’m giving the team a complete off on Thursday and we’ll see on Friday who is fit. The best players will play in this game.”
Balestier head coach Marko Kraljevic: “We could not hold on to beat DPMM, but this is football and we must learn from this one. We’ve played Home three times this season, so we know how they play and they know how we play.
“It will be another tough game against Home, but we go into every game wanting to win. We always believe it is possible to beat any team in this league and we are good enough to beat anyone.”