Singapore Premier League • March 1, 2014

Chang’s Curler Salvages Point for Rams


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Woodlands Wellington and Balestier Khalsa shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw as both teams dished out a succulent show of football at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night to leave fans hanging on the edge of their seats.

The Rams had come into this game on the back of a fortunate 2-2 draw with Hougang United while the Tigers thumped Courts Young Lions 4-0.

Despite winning by a big margin in their opening match, Balestier were not going to have it easy against the Rams. Both sides had their fair share of dominance in the match but found the respective backlines in an uncompromising mood.

The first chance of the game fell to Woodlands seven minutes in as quick build-up play between Korean strikeforce Moon Soon Ho and Chang Jo Yoon set up Andy Ahmad, whose final effort from the left was too tame and easy for Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam to handle .

Three minutes later, defender Walid Lounis decided to join in a counter-attack before unleashing a shot from just outside the penalty box which barely sailed over the bar

Marko Kraljevic’s side almost drew first blood with their opening chance in the 20th minute when Ridwan Jamil’s half-volley from 25 yards ricocheted off the woodwork after former Youth Olympic Games (YOG) star Hanafi Akbar’s free-kick was cleared.

The start of the second half started to show some signs of the deadlock being broken.

Ljubojevic was granted with the easiest of goal-scoring tasks in the 67th minute, sliding the ball past Yazid Yasin for his second goal in as many games for Balestier, after the Woodlands goalkeeper fumbled a deflected cross by Syed Thana.

Unfortunately the lead did not last long as Chang cancelled out Ljubojevic’s opener four minutes later with a stunning strike.

The Korean engineered enough space for himself on the left side of the penalty area and proceeded to send a brilliant curler into the top corner of goal which gave Zaiful absolutely no chance of saving.

Both teams went in search of the winner thereafter but Balestier skipper Paul Cunningham’s half-volley from outside the penalty box did not post any apparent threat, and neither did Moon’s effort from eight yards out.

The final three minutes of the game presented both sides with a chance each, but Ljubojevic’s header landed on the roof of the net while Armanizam Dolah’s 30-yard free kick flew a whisker away from the crossbar as both teams settled for a point each.