Singapore Cup • November 9, 2014

Historic Cup Victory For Tigers


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Balestier Khalsa were crowned champions of the 2014 RHB Singapore Cup as they beat Home United 3-1 in front of a 6,175-strong crowd at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.

Strikes from Goran Ljubojevic, Kim Minho and Park Kang Jin gave the Tigers a comfortable three-goal cushion but Sirina Camara pulled one back in stoppage time, although it proved inconsequential as the Tigers hung on for a historic win.

In addition to adding their first ever Singapore Cup to the trophy cabinet, Balestier also qualified for their first ever AFC Cup.

Marko Kraljevic’s charges had started the game brightly and took the game to their opponents, as Ljubojevic fired a first-time volley just wide of the post in the fifth minute.

At the other end six minutes later, Indra Sahdan then latched onto a precise pass from Lee Kwan Woo but Zaiful Nizam was quick off his line to thwart the former.

The deadlock was however broken in the 15th minute when Ljubojevic took down a pass from Kim before rifling an unstoppable shot into Shahril Jantan’s bottom corner.

The Protectors nearly replied instantly moments after conceding, but Noh Rahman’s long-range effort crashed off the bar with Indra failing to convert the rebound with a gaping goal in front of him.

It turned out to be a miss which proved costly, as Balestier would double their advantage in the 28th minute.

It was Kim who turned scorer this time as he earned the penalty himself and then sent Shahril the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-0.

Home rallied strongly thereafter as they created chance after chance but were still unable to find the net.

Lee came close twice in the space of four minutes before Bruno Castenheira’s low shot was tipped round the post by Zaiful on 35 minutes.

In the 44th minute, Indra was sent clean through after a neat exchange with Masrezwan but he was denied by the outstretched foot of Zaiful at the near post.

Former Singapore international Indra was then unlucky not to have pulled one back for his side on the stroke of half-time as his effort was hacked off the line by substitute Ho Wai Loon.

The start of the second-half was a stark contrast to the first with chances few and far between.

Castanheira’s powerful shot was blocked by a white shirt from point-blank just after the break before Song glanced a header just wide at the far post off Lee’s freekick delivery in the 54th minute.

Ljubojevic could have made it 3-0 and put the game to bed in the 72nd minute, but Shahril kept Home in the tie by going down low to keep out the shot from the Balestier marquee signing.

Kim nearly got his name on the scoresheet again seven minutes later. Exchanging passes with Ljubojevic, the South Korean however contrived to send his shot onto the post with Shahril already beaten.

Two goals down, Home then found themselves having to battle with a man less for the final eight minutes or so after skipper Noh Rahman was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

3-0 it became on 90 minutes, as Park slid home the ball into an empty net after Ljubojevic had done well to square the ball back to the midfielder who was lurking inside the penalty area.

There was late drama though, as Zulkiffli Hassim was adjudged to have brought down Camara inside the box and it prompted referee Muhd Taqi to point to the spot.

23-year-old Camara dusted himself to take the penalty and dispatched it successfully into the bottom corner, but it proved to be a mere consolation.