League Cup • July 25, 2014

A Final Redemption For Plate Finalists


StarHub League Cup Plate Final

Tampines Rovers vs Balestier Khalsa

(July 24, Thursday, 8.00pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Tampines Rovers welcome Balestier Khalsa in the Plate Final of the StarHub League Cup 2014 on Thursday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Both teams were shown the exit door in the group stages but the Plate format serves as an opportunity for them to win something in this tournament.

Tampines were kicked out by Geylang International and Warriors FC in Group B while Hougang United and Brunei DPMM, who have set their eyes on the League Cup knocked Balestier out in Group D.

Although winning the Plate will not be as prestigious as having their hands on the ultimate League Cup, both sides would want to win to gain something out of this competition.

After failing to qualify from the group stage, the Stags and the Tigers entered the plate competition as they locked horns with National Football League (NFL) sides Police SA and Singapore Recreation Club.

Tampines claimed an overwhelming 9-0 victory over Police while Balestier’s striker Goran Ljubojevic helped them steal a 2-0 victory.

Rafi Ali, coach of the reigning S.League champions is looking forward to the Final as he shared his thoughts on it: “I told the boys we needed to get the passing, the understanding at the movement better.”

“We scored some good goals in the game against Police. Against Balestier, we just need to tighten up the defence and fluidify our movements.”

Balestier have been the team with a stellar record in this competition, after winning the League Cup last year and claiming the Plate a year prior to that.

Coach Marko Kraljevic believes his side has the ability to beat Tampines.

“This game is curtain-raiser for the RHB Singapore Cup semi-final,” he expressed.

“We can win the Plate, and even the semi-final game. The winning prize of $5000 is the best motivation. Everyone is motivated for the final. I am going to put up my best possible line-up.”

With Emir Lotinac having to sit out for the final game, Kraljevic will be relying on Jonathan Xu to partner Nurullah Hussein in the heart of defence.

Expect a very attacking-oriented game as Tampines are on a high after their latest win.

Miljan Mrdakovic and Noh Alam Shah will most probably be leading the lines upfront as they both scored five out of the nine goals, with the former clinching a hat-trick and the latter, a brace.

With Balestier being known for their prowess in build-up plays like sweeping the ball from the centre and then whipping in crosses from the flanks to their target-man Ljubojevic, Tampines have to stay alert and compact in the middle of the pitch to close down on the midfielders as fast as possible.

Suspensions: Emir Lotinac (Balestier Khalsa)

Tampines Rovers – WLLWW

19/7/14    Tampines Rovers 9-0 Police SA (StarHub League Cup Plate SF)

12/7/14    Tampines Rovers 2-3 Warriors FC (StarHub League Cup Group B)

7/7/14      Geylang International 2-1 Tampines Rovers (StarHub League Cup Group B)

1/7/14      Tanjong Pagar United 1-4 Tampines Rovers (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)

27/6/14    Tampines Rovers 4-2 Tanjong Pagar United (RHB Singapore Cup QF 1st Leg)

Balestier Khalsa – WDLWW

19/7/14    Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Singapore Recreation Club (StarHub League Cup Plate SF)

11/7/14    Brunei DPMM 2-2 Balestier Khalsa (StarHub League Cup Group D)

8/7/14      Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Hougang United (StarHub League Cup Group D)

2/7/14      Geylang International (3) 1-0 (4p) (AET) Balestier Khalsa (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)

28/6/14    Balestier Khalsa 2-1 Geylang International (RHB Singapore Cup QF 1st Leg)