Singapore Premier League • April 25, 2014
Balestier Must Play To Strengths In Brunei
Brunei DPMM vs Balestier Khalsa
(April 25, Friday, 8.15pm, Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium)
Written by: Kenneth Ho
For the ninth round of the S.League, league leaders DPMM return back to the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium to face ninth-placed Balestier Khalsa.
DPMM are clear favourites in this tie, and for all the obvious reasons. The hosts have bounced back remarkably since their only loss of the season to Tampines, and have posted impressive victories since such as the 5-0 win over Harimau.
Sitting at the submit, not only have DPMM scored the most goals in the league (20 from eight games), they also have the tightest defence with four goals conceded so far to make Balestier’s task of getting a result really difficult.
Without their injured creative midfielder Park Kang Jin, Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic has lamented that his side suffers from a loss of flair and passes which could help them unlock most defence.
The statistics might well back up his claims, with Instat showing that the Tigers only had a poor 58% completion rate of attacking passes in their last game against Geylang International.
Without much of an attacking flair, the Tigers’ best chances of scoring goals will be via set-pieces. Possessing players whose physique are tall and big, Balestier will do well to exploit their strength.
Two players who will be dangerous from set-pieces for Balestier will be Goran Ljubojevic and Paul Cunningham (both won 89% and 46%of their headers respectively in their last game).
That said, DPMM have the tightest defence because they have players who can cope with such threats too.
Boris Raspudic and Rodrigo Tosi both figure among the top few players who have successfully won their air challenges, with the former fielding an impressive success rate of 92%.
The Tigers will also have to look out for the offensive threat by DPMM. The most dangerous thing about DPMM is not their ability to carve out chances, but their efficiency at using those chances to trouble their oppositions‘ goal.
From five shots in the box in their last game against Hougang, DPMM managed to make three of those efforts on target, with another hitting the post.
Key Men To Watch
Brunei DPMM: Rodrigo Tosi
Tosi will be a key player in this game, not for his goal-scoring exploits this time round even though that will be fairly useful to the hosts.
With the big men Balestier have in their box, playing in crosses into the danger area for the forwards might seem like a poor choice. Instead, DPMM should look to play the ball on the ground, and make passes to the feet.
With Tosi (passing completion rate of 74%) playing in his usual role as a deep-lying forward, he can act as the link between midfield and attack and help the hosts find it easier to make a breakthrough.
Balestier Khalsa: Goran Ljubojevic
Offensively and defensively, the striker will be important to Balestier. If DPMM get a set-piece, the Croatian‘s prowess in the air will help to counter the threats posed by Tosi and Raspudic.
Up front, the striker has scored goals from nothing, and there will be no better time to do that than against the best defence in the league.
Brunei DPMM – WWWDL
16/4/14 Hougang United 0-1 Brunei DPMM
11/4/14 Brunei DPMM 5-0 Harimau Muda
6/4/14 Brunei DPMM 6-1 Courts Young Lions
28/3/14 Geylang International 1-1 Brunei DPMM
23/3/14 Brunei DPMM 1-2 Tampines Rovers
Balestier Khalsa – DLLDL
17/4/14 Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Geylang International
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
Head to Head (S.League)
21/8/13 Brunei DPMM 1-1 Balestier Khalsa
19/4/13 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Brunei DPMM
2/11/12 Brunei DPMM 0-2 Balestier Khalsa
10/5/12 Balestier Khalsa 1-3 Brunei DPMM