Singapore Cup • September 1, 2018

Hero Hazzuwan spot on as Balestier dump Geylang out of Singapore Cup


The diminutive attacker coolly converted a penalty to send the Tigers through 1-0 on aggregate

Hazzuwan scored his second penalty of the season.

SINGAPORE, 1 SEP 2018 – Hazzuwan Halim came to Balestier Khalsa FC’s rescue with a timely winner as they edged Geylang International FC 1-0 on Saturday evening to reach the RHB Singapore Cup semi-finals.

The forward won a penalty in the 84th minute after being brought down by Afiq Yunos in the box and duly dispatched the spot-kick for his fifth goal of the season.

Being able to send the Tigers through to the next round clearly delighted Hazzuwan and he was at a loss for words after the game.

“I am really happy, I don’t know what to say. I am really proud of my team and coaches and the supporters that came tonight, I am really blessed so thank you,” the 24-year-old said.

“We deserved the win, we kept attacking and played well. Hopefully, we can go all the way now.”

As it was in the first leg that ended 0-0 on Wednesday, chances were at a premium at Toa Payoh Stadium in the second leg of this first-round tie.

Hazzuwan’s effort from an acute angle went agonisingly wide in the first minute before Fadli Kamis headed past the post in the 18th minute.

There was a good chance for the opener just before the break, only for Vedran Mesec to fluff his shot from a lovely ball by Huzaifah Aziz.

More scrappy efforts followed after the break, with Zulfadli Zainal Abdin and Hazzuwan hitting hopeful long shots over the bar.

Fairoz Hasan will rue his miss in the 71st minute, as his volley came crashing off the post before Zakir Samsudin experienced the same at the other end after his cross was deflected by Afiq onto the woodwork.

The first shot on target in the game finally arrived in the 83rd minute, with Keegan Linderboom latching onto Hazzuwan’s return pass and lashing at goal but Zainol Gulam stood his ground at the near post.

The only goal of the game arrived moments later as Hazzuwan blistered past Afiq, who brought him down and conceded the penalty.

Sufianto Salleh’s finish late on was chalked off for offside but it did not matter as Geylang slumped to a second first-round exit in as many editions.

2014 champions Balestier will now face either Brunei DPMM FC or Warriors FC in the semi-finals.

Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “It was really a tough game as Geylang are really tough opponents. There weren’t many chances and you can say it was an even game, but the penalty was the difference. But I’m really impressed with my boys, they worked hard and when you do that, luck follows you, and now we are in the next round.

“We are confident but we will take it step by step and face the next opponents first. The final is a little far away now but playing in the final is a dream.”

Geylang Head Coach Hirotaka Usui: “I cannot say much, because our players played their best and I appreciate them. This result is my responsibility. It was a very difficult game but the players will grow from this. We must improve more definitely.”

Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Shaqi Sulaiman, Khalili Khalif (Sufianto Salleh 89’), Hazzuwan Halim, Huzaifah Aziz, Sheikh Abdul Hadi (Nurullah Hussein 49’), Fariz Faizal, Ahmad Syahir, Keegan Linderboom, Vedran Mesec (Zakir Samsudin 73’).
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Nazri Sabri (GK), Afiq Salman Tan, Haiqal Adnan.

Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Jufri Taha (C), Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Darren Teh, Azhar Sairudin, Fuad Ramli, Danish Irfan (Cameron Bell 62’), Afiq Yunos, Fairoz Hasan, Yuki Ichikawa, Ahmad Zaki (Yeo Hai Ngee 86’).
Unused subs: Basil Chan (GK), Faris Danial (GK), Umar Akhbar, Ryan Syaffiq, Sadiq Rahim.