Singapore Cup • July 3, 2014
Marko Feels Game Should Not Have Gone To Penalties
Written By: Kenneth Ho
Balestier Khalsa qualified for the semi-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup for the second consecutive year after navigating through a tricky two-legged quarter-finals with Geylang International.
Despite the 2-1 advantage Balestier had after the first game, a 1-0 defeat by Geylang in the return leg rendered it inconsequential as the game went to penalties.
Balestier managed to come out 4-3 winners in the shootout, but coach Marko Kraljevic insisted the game should have been over by the end of regulation time in the second game.
“We should have finished off the game early, they Geylang are lucky to come to penalties. We had clear chances but we failed to finish those chances,” Kraljevic said.
Kraljevic was satisfied with the result and shared that the Tigers got their just rewards for the hardworking performance despite the Muslim players having to fast during the month of Ramadan.
“It was part of the game, we worked hard and luck followed. This is fasting month, they played for 120 minutes in this weather, in this condition and it is tough. Anything could have happened, they had their chances, we had ours and it was a good game,” the Balestier coach said.
The result meant that Balestier had more games to contend with, but Kraljevic declared that his team will not give priority to any competitions, as they aim to do well in all of them.
“We focus on every game, we are professionals and we will approach every game with the same mentality. We don’t have a big squad, but we are going all out every game,” he said.
Despite being disappointed to go out on penalties, Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner was gracious in defeat as he offered his best wishes to Balestier for making the semi-finals.
“I think first of all we need to congratulate Marko and his team for reaching the semi-finals. We both contributed to a very good Singapore Cup game today. Considering it is Ramadan, you have to give both sides credit,” Steinebrunner expressed.
“They had some chances, we had some chances but I think we looked like the better team towards the end and I think that the result was unfortunate.”
Geylang goalkeeper Siddiq Durimi had superb game, as he kept a clean sheet after pulling off stupendous saves throughout the game. However, Steinebrunner made the decision to bring off the custodian for Joey Sim just before the penalty shootout ensued as he felt that the latter was a better penalty shot-stopper.
While Sim saved the first penalty, he failed to do so for the remaining spot-kicks. However, Steinebrunner insisted he had no regrets with his decision and that he was going to take the defeat on the chin.
“I think in the penalties for a while it looked like maybe we had the better chances but a penalty shootout can change anytime and I am never going to blame a player if he misses a penalty,” the German said.
“The thing is, we trained in penalties and we the coaching staffs saw who was the better goalkeeper in that sense. Siddiq had a brilliant game but there was also a brilliant save by Joey Sim in the first penalty so the gamble might have paid off.”