Singapore Premier League • September 28, 2015
Kraljevic: Teamwork Key To Victory
Written by: Shawn Lim
Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic was effusive with his praise of his side’s teamwork after a 2-0 victory over Harimau Muda at Hang Jebat Stadium on Sunday night.
An early goal from Robert Pericic in the fifth minute gave the Tigers some breathing room before Miroslav Kristic scored the second in the 53rd minute to kill off the hosts’ hopes of mounting a comeback.
Kristic’s goal was also his 14th of the season and it made him the third-joint top scorer in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.
However, Kraljevic refused to single out the striker for praise but instead put the victory down to a collective effort from the team.
“We played very well and it was very important to score an early goal, because they gave us more space after that as they needed to attack to find the equaliser,” said the Croatian.
“We could have gone 2-0 up at half-time if Zul (Zulkffli Hassim) had scored with that clear chance three minutes before the break.
“They came out for the second half and pressed us really hard, but we managed to score the second goal to kill them off.
“Kristic is a very important striker, but I don’t like to talk about individual players because he managed to score after his teammates created the chance for him.
“I like to talk about teamwork because our teamwork today was excellent.”
The victory also saw Balestier moved to second place in the league table, five points behind league leaders Brunei DPMM and one point ahead of Warriors FC, who have a game in hand.
Kraljevic was quick to not get carried away with the prospect of catching the Wasps and insists that there is more work to be done.
“I am very happy that we kept a clean sheet, but I felt we could have done better with our attacking. That said, it was a good overall performance from us,” asserted Kraljevic.
“It will be tough to catch them (DPMM) because after this win, we will take a three-week break and our next game is against Albirex (Niigata (S)), so that will be a crucial.”
Meanwhile, Harimau Muda coach Razip Ismail was at a loss to explain his side’s lack of response after conceding the early goal.
The Young Tigers also ended the match with 10 men after Kenny Pallraj was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 74th minute.
“I am very disappointed with the way we played and we struggled to get back into the game after letting in the early goal,” said the Malaysian.
“Everything before the game went right, during training and pre-match, so I thought we would have a good game.
“The players’ morale really dropped after conceding the first goal and they stopped following the game plan after that.
“I will have to ask them what happened after Balestier scored the first goal, but the way we played after that was not our usual standard of football, so I think we deserved to lose today.”