Singapore Premier League • November 10, 2015

Balagumaran: We Need To Concentrate For The Entire Game


Written by: Shawn Lim

Hougang United coach K.Balagumaran was disappointed with his side’s lapse of concentration after their 2-2 draw with Geylang International at Bedok Stadium on Monday night.

Shawal Anuar had given the Eagles the lead before the Cheetahs equalised through a penalty converted by Vuk Sotirovic. They then took the lead in stoppage time through Fareez Farhan.

However, with seconds left to go before the final whistle, the Hougang defence switched off and allowed Bruno Castanheira to grab the equaliser for the hosts.

While Balagumaran was pleased with how his charges kept on fighting after going a goal down, he was critical of how his side were unable to hold on for three points with so little time left in the game.

“It shows the character of the team, they came back from 1-0 down..we came back 1-1 and we thought we scored the winner when it was 2-1,” said the 51-year-old.

“Just the last second, a lapse of concentration and we should have kept the ball in the attacking third..and we lost the possession of the ball then they counter and we concede a goal.

“So the players should learn from here..crucial to know that 90 minutes is not over, there is injury time..even last 30 seconds..our concentration should be there.

“What I asked from the players, they gave their best..they work hard. Credit to the boys, they should have taken the three points for their hard work.”

The draw with Geylang was only Balagumaran’s second game in charge, having replaced Salim Moin at the start of this month and while the former Gombak United coach has yet to achieve three points, he believes that it is only a matter of time.

“We got one more game and I still need to work hard. The players got to play for their pride..for their future, for their career because everybody, even the fringe players can play football,” said Balagumaran.

“We lost the previous game..that was my first game..second game, whatever the game plan, they carried out.

“So I think I can see that they believe in themselves that they can perform much much better.”

Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner admitted that even though his side dominated a large part of the game, they had little to show for their pressure.

“Even though we dominated, we made a lot of things difficult for ourselves. I think we didn’t play as well as against (Courts) Young Lions or DPMM or Home United,” asserted the German.

“It’s also due to, I would say that, Hougang playing very deep..always putting five, six men behind the ball.

“I think in the first half, we would have been a little more decisive upfront. Maybe some of the attacks we could have finished off.”

Steinebrunner was also adamant that the Cheetahs were lucky to escape with a point as he raised his unhappiness over how the two goals were conceded.

“Deservingly, we went up 1-0 and then when (Tatsuro) Inui was brought down earlier, he was not given a penalty. Few seconds later, they get a penalty,” said the 44-year-old.

“The second goal for Hougang, when the player touched the ball, it looked like the linesman’s view was blocked, but he still said the ball was in.

“But credit to the boys, we came back and scored a great equaliser..and totally deserved it.”

While the draw with Hougang stretched Geylang’s unbeaten run to four games, it was the second consecutive game where they gave up their lead to share the spoils with their opponents.

Steinebrunner admitted that while it was vexing not to earn maximum points again, he was pleased that his players managed to proved their critics wrong.

“It’s frustrating because we have done a lot of things right..and you are falling behind to two incidents which shouldn’t happen,” said Steinebrunner.

“If we fall behind when we are doing things wrong, then that’s also frustrating..but then we have to blame ourselves.

“We have taken more points now than we have taken in the earlier part of the season, so that’s credit to the boys.

“A lot of people have said that we are most probably going to finish in the bottom after that six weeks.

“That’s when they showed no respect to the team, to the coaching staff, to myself and it would be nice if they apologised because this draw means that we are definitely not going to finish last.”