Singapore Premier League • October 20, 2015
Tigers Go Level On Points With League Leaders DPMM
Written By: Kenneth Ho
Balestier Khalsa finally caught up with league leaders Brunei DPMM in the league standings after a 1-0 win over Courts Young Lions on Monday evening.
Despite being level on 40 points, the Tigers sit in second place due to an inferior goal difference and have also played two games more than the league leaders.
For the second game in a row, Balestier had to dig deep in order to secure the win.
Robert Pericic proved to be their hero once again, as he scored his second consecutive match-winner in the 77th minute to net three goals in as many games.
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic had instructed his side to keep a clean sheet at all cost and it resulted in the Tigers sitting deep throughout the whole game.
With the hosts adopting a defensive approach, the Young Lions resorted to long-range attempts and set-pieces in order to find the opener.
This saw Shahfiq Ghani’s free-kick being tipped away by Zaiful Nizam in the 14th minute before M.Anumanthan came close with a 25-yard shot five minutes later.
Balestier too had a chance of their own in the 27th minute, but Miroslav Kristic hit a tame effort at Syazwan Buhari after running onto a long ball.
Syazwan then was called upon to push behind Igor Cerina’s powerful header, after the defender ghosted in to meet Ignatius Ang’s free-kick in the 36th minute.
After the break, Pericic enjoyed the best chance of the game in the 47th minute but he failed to hit the back of the net despite having only the goalkeeper to beat after Zulkiffli Hassim played him through on goal.
His strike partner Kristic fared no better in the 68th minute, as he contrived to fire the ball straight at Syazwan after a one-two with Zulkiffli.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 77th minute, after Zulkiffli and Kristic combined to draw defenders away from Pericic and he calmly fired past Syazwan.
Try as the Young Lions might, they still could not find a breakthrough past a compact Balestier side.
Instead, the Young Lions nearly conceded once more in injury time, with Syazwan producing a top-class save to push away Kristic’s first-time fierce volley.
Balestier’s quest for glory will continue next with a visit to Yishun Stadium where they will face a resurgent Home United.
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK (C), Hanafi Salleh, Emir Lotinac, Igor Cerina, Zulkiffli Hassim, Ridwan Jamil (Poh Yifeng 43′) (Danial Farhan Tan 72′), Robert Pericic, Tarik Cmajcanin, Miroslav Kristic, Jonathan Xu, Ignatius Ang (Fadhil Noh 57′)
Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari (GK) (C), Amirul Adli, M.Anumanthan, Shahfiq Ghani (Suria Prakash 69′), Jordan Webb, Taufik Suparno, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Sherif El-Masri (Irfan Fandi 76′), Afiq Noor, Ammirul Emmran, Farhan Rahmat