Singapore Premier League • May 11, 2014
Amin Delighted With Players’ Response
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Geison Moura struck the winner on the hour mark after Goran Ljubojevic had cancelled out Diego Gama’s opener in the first-half as Hougang United registered a 2-1 win over Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
The win saw Hougang keep themselves within touching distance of fifth-placed Albirex Niigata (S) while Balestier continue to languish on the wrong end of the league table in eighth with the conclusion of the first round of matches in the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season.
Hougang coach Amin Nasir was happy with what he saw and admitted it was never easy going up against a ‘strong’ Balestier side.
“Definitely it was a very crucial win, in terms of our morale as we needed to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat at home in our last game where we lost 3-0 [to Courts Young Lions] and I’m glad they responded tonight,” he said after the match.
“I was pleased because this is how we play, we like to build up. But again, it’s not easy. Balestier are a strong team as they are physically strong.
“It won’t be easy all the time, so today was a bit tough game where Balestier are strong physically and in the air. I’m glad we did do our plan whereby we expect what they are going to play.”
Although his team sit in sixth after the first round of matches, the ex-international believed his team were still a work in progress.
“Definitely I’m proud we are in the sixth position, so this is what we aiming for,” said Amin.
“Of course there’s still a lot of work to do, we are not going to relax. We need to work doubly hard, because the second round is going to be very hard.
“Look at Young Lions now they are playing good football and getting good results, and Harimau Muda also getting a result so it’s never going to be easy and it’s going to be a challenge for us.”
Meanwhile, Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic cut a forlorn figure after his side’s fifth defeat of the season as he was left to rue missed chances.
“That’s football you know, you miss and then you concede. We even had two chances to put the ball in the net but we didn’t,” he lamented.
“Of course it [the defeat] was disappointing. This is soccer, sometimes we are let down by individual mistakes and we concede a goal.”
Like his counterpart Amin, Kraljevic felt that his team were capable of more and was confident his team will be able to cope with the absence of skipper Paul Cunningham who is set to go under the knife for a knee injury.
“I think we can do better,” admitted Kraljevic.
“We got Park Kang Jin problem, he was (out with an) injury for eight weeks. Paul [Cunningham] too, he is playing with an injury from the first game. On Monday he will be going for an operation and will be away for 10 weeks.
“But we have six more players on the bench. Somebody will step in and we move on. What can we do? Sometimes we are unlucky with injuries but we must move on.”