Singapore Premier League • March 14, 2014
Ljubojevic’s Strike Seals Three Points for Tigers
Written By: Kenneth Ho
Balestier Khalsa earned a 1-0 victory over ten-man Tanjong Pagar United on Thursday evening at Toa Payoh Stadium thanks to a spectacular Goran Ljubojevic’s goal.
The Croatian scored an early goal in the fourth minute when he spotted Tanjong Pagar goalkeeper Aurelien Herisson off his line and curled in a looping effort from 25-yards out.
Ljubojevic could have scored a second goal in the game after he rose the highest to meet a brilliant cross by Syed Thaha in the 70th minute but his glancing header bounced just wide of goal.
However, his miss proved inconsequential in a game which Balestier defended stoutly and were rarely troubled by the Jaguars, especially after Tanjong Pagar lost Masrezwan Masturi to a red card in the 54th minute.
After Ljubojevic’s goal, Tanjong Pagar could have replied instantly when Sebastien Etiemble muscled his way into the box and crossed to Firdaus Idros but the latter’s shot from close range was blocked.
While the Jaguars were struggling to string passes together, Balestier found it easy to penetrate the visitors’ defence and create goal-scoring opportunities.
Zulkiffli Hassim was thwarted in a one-on-one with Herisson in the 15th minute when the custodian got down to block the shot. Moments later, Zulkiffli volleyed an effort just wide of the far post.
Tanjong Pagar could have equalised just before half-time when Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam fluffed his punching-clearance and the ball landed for Etiemble to thump towards goal. However, the Frenchman’s effort rebounded off Paul Cunningham instead and allowed the Tigers to go into the break with a one-goal lead.
The visitors managed to improve after the break but their efforts were rarely on target.
Firdaus’ blasted shot over the bar on the hour mark while Etiemble’s lashed shot past the woodwork towards the end of the game were probably the closest they came to scoring in the game.
Balestier on the other hand enjoyed more chances, with Herisson called into action several times.
The custodian had to palm away Paul Cunningham’s drive from the edge of the box in the 80th minute before making an acrobatic save from Ahmad Syahir’s powerful drive.