Singapore Premier League • June 9, 2014

Kraljevic Pleased With Team Despite Draw


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Albirex Niigata (S) let slip a one-goal lead as they were left to settle for a point after a 1-1 draw with Balestier Khalsa where Ruhaizad Ismail struck a late equaliser to cancel out Soichiro Tanaka’s opener.

Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic was happy with the point earned and praised his charges for their effort.

“I am happy [with the result],” he said after the match.

“Playing against a Japanese team who are fast, going 1-0 down was very hard. You must push up which open lots of space for them.

“I was happy with the hard work they put in today. It was not easy to play Albirex but we worked extremely hard and it paid off at the end of the day.”

When asked about his team’s sluggish first-half where they hardly got going, the Croatian said the league’s unforgiving schedule has not helped after playing two games in the space of four days and they are scheduled to take on Warriors FC this Thursday.

“It’s not easy, we have many games and my first eleven mostly play every game. Last game was Wednesday, next game Sunday and then Thursday again. Some pitch was a little bit wet and it was tough for the boys,” he explained.

In contrast, White Swans coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama was disappointed with the result and lamented his side’s inability to find the second goal which would have killed off the game.

He said: “Of course, we wanted to win the game so it was a very disappointing result tonight.

“We concede the goal in the last minute and we couldn’t score the second goal and that was most important for us [in trying to win the game].”

That was down to their profligacy in front of goal and Okuyama agreed it was an area they have to work on as they prepare for their next game against Woodlands Wellington.

“We have to improve that point, especially that point and we will work on that during training,” the Japanese concluded.