Singapore Premier League • August 19, 2018

Nurullah grabs first ever goal as Balestier come back twice to deny Warriors


The midfielder scored his maiden professional goal in a 2-2 thriller

The 25-year-old struck a sweet low shot to salvage a point.

SINGAPORE, 19 AUG 2018 – Despite Jonathan Behe grabbing two goals, Warriors FC’s bid for five straight wins in a season since 2011 was thwarted by Balestier Khalsa FC in a 2-2 draw at Toa Payoh Stadium on Sunday evening.

Warriors led twice, only for Fadli Kamis and Nurullah Hussein to strike in each half, with the latter’s goal his first ever in professional football.

The result meant Warriors stayed in fifth, two points clear of Balestier and with a game in hand.

After a turgid opening 20 minutes, the game gradually burst into life as the visitors broke the deadlock via a clever free-kick routine in the 28th minute.

With the Balestier defence expecting a direct shot on goal, Ignatius Ang caught them off-guard with a simple lofted ball over the wall for Behe.

The latter took two touches to steady himself, before coolly slotting past onrushing Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.

That goal woke Balestier up from their slumber and they found the equaliser 12 minutes later after a series of corners.

Behe’s headed clearance off Hazzuwan Halim’s inswinging corner fell to Keegan Linderboom, who hooked a superb ball back into the danger area for Fadli to nod home at the far post for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Warriors would retake the lead in the 71st minute after a good move that involved two of their substitutes.

Receiving Firdaus Kasman’s slide-rule pass, Fadhil Noh whipped in a teasing right-wing cross that Behe deftly steered home from eight yards for his 17th goal of the season.

However, Balestier would restore parity again just five minutes later via the unlikeliest of scorers.

Benefiting from Hazzuwan’s lay-off after Huzaifah Aziz’s long throw into the area, Nurullah was allowed the luxury of space on the edge of the box to lash in a daisy-cutter with his weaker right foot into the bottom left corner.

Warriors did have some chances to win it late on, but Fadhil saw his shot from a tight angle denied by Zaiful before Firdaus lashed a volley over.

Both sides will now turn their attentions to the first leg of their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final ties.

Warriors take on Brunei DPMM FC in the first leg at Jalan Besar Stadium next Thursday, while Balestier visit Bedok Stadium to face Geylang International FC on Wednesday, 29 August.

Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “I’m really happy with another comeback. It shows the mental strength and belief of the boys. Keegan’s return is helping us, but it’s the rest who are scoring.

“Today is different for Nurullah because he’s playing holding midfield. I told him ‘don’t go into the box, just stay outside the box’. He’s confident on the ball and he can shoot. It’s not easy for him after a year’s lay-off and hopefully that’s not his last goal!”

Warriors Head Coach Mirko Grabovac: “I was disappointed with the two goals that we conceded. The first goal – we did many set pieces to prepare for their aerial threat but we still conceded. The second goal – we must defend as a team, we must be faster to block the shot from outside the box.

“But a draw is a fair result. After four wins, today we can’t win – that’s football. Now we have the Singapore Cup coming up, but that’s difficult because all the teams have ambitions to win it.”

Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Fadli Kamis, Shaqi Sulaiman, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Sufianto Salleh, Nurullah Hussein (Khalili Khalif 81’), Fariz Faizal (Zakir Samsudin 73’), Huzaifah Aziz, Keegan Linderboom, Hazzuwan Halim, Noor Akid Nordin (Sanjin Vrebac 58’).
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Ahmad Syahir, Daniel Hazreel, Haiqal Adnan.

Warriors: Mukundan Maran (GK), Emmeric Ong, Delwinder Singh, Kento Fukuda (C), Ismadi Mukhtar, Ho Wai Loon, Ammirul Emmran, Nur Luqman (Firdaus Kasman 64’), Sahil Suhaimi (Fadhil Noh 46’), Ignatius Ang (Khairul Nizam 78’), Jonathan Behe.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Shamil Sharif, Tajeli Salamat, Suria Prakash.