Singapore Premier League • April 17, 2014
Tight Battle For Mid-Table Dwellers
Balestier Khalsa vs Geylang International
(April 17, Thursday, 7.30pm, Toa Payoh Stadium)
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Balestier Khalsa will be looking to halt a slump in form when they host Geylang International at the Toa Payoh Stadium.
The Tigers have suffered three losses in their last four games, with only a draw against Warriors FC back in March being the only game they have gained a result from.
But the Tigers will have a tough task on hand, as they will be up against a Geylang side which have won three and drawn one of their last four matches after the arrival of new coach Jorg Steinebrunner.
The German has instilled confidence and belief into the side after a dismal start to the season when the Eagles lost three consecutive games while they were still under the reins of Kanan Vedhamuthu.
However, Geylang have since stemmed that losing streak and even managed to eke out impressive results such as the 1-1 draw against title challengers DPMM Brunei.
What has changed has been how Geylang look more compact under Steinebrunner, with the defence being resolute and uncompromising under the leadership of defender Kento Fukuda.
However, Balestier have got a striker capable of scoring from anywhere near the danger area in Goran Ljubojevic. As long as the Croatian gets fed with proper service, he will be bound to be a menace up front.
It is going to be an interesting battle at the attacking third for Geylang, as they will be relying on the services of Leonel Felice and Hafiz Nor to create trouble in a Balestier backline led by skipper Paul Cunningham.
In the middle of the park, Franco Chivilo will be pulling the strings with his precise touches and vision which will pick out intelligent runs by the flankers Ridhuan Muhammad and Mustaqim Manzur.
A win for the Tigers this Thursday will allow them to leapfrog the Eagles to seventh place, while a win for the latter could see them climb as high as fourth in the table.
Key Men to Watch
Balestier Khalsa: Paul Cunningham
A no-nonsense defender whose physical strength and height brings much fear to opposing strikers, Cunningham is the ‘backbone of the Tigers’.
Competent in the offensive aspect as well, the skipper does not hesitate to get into scoring positions whenever possible, and he might well sneak in with a goal.
Geylang International: Leonel Felice
Felice has been showing his lethality throughout this season, especially in the last game against Hougang United where the forward scored a brace in the dying moments of the game.
Give him a pinpoint cross and he can finish it for you with just one touch. That’s what the Argentinian has been doing all along. Having already scored four goals this season, Felice can be counted upon to deliver the goods in what should be a tight game.
Balestier Khalsa – LLDLW
13/4/14 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa
5/4/14 Home United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa
28/3/14 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Warriors FC
21/3/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
13/3/14 Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Tanjong Pagar United
Geylang International – WWDWL
11/4/14 Geylang International 3-2 Hougang United
3/4/14 Harimau Muda 0-3 Geylang International
28/3/14 Geylang International 1-1 Brunei DPMM
20/3/14 Geylang International 1-0 Courts Young Lions
16/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-0 Geylang International
Head to Head (S.League)
16/5/13 Geylang International 2-2 Balestier Khalsa
26/2/13 Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Geylang International
23/8/12 Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Geylang International
23/3/12 Geylang International 3-1 Balestier Khalsa
8/9/11 Geylang International 3-2 Balestier Khalsa
25/5/11 Balestier Khalsa 3-1 Geylang International
11/3/11 Geylang International 0-3 Balestier Khalsa