News • April 4, 2016
Protectors Grind Out Important Victory Against Tigers
Written by: Shawn Lim
Home United picked up their second win of their Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2016 campaign after scraping past Balestier Khalsa 1-0 at Toa Payoh Stadium on Sunday night.
Ken Ilso’s third goal of the season was enough for the Protectors to claim maximum points and condemn the Tigers to their second consecutive loss.
The defeat for the Tigers also meant that Marko Kraljevic has yet to taste victory with his side this season and remain second from bottom in the league table.
There were two alterations for the visitors from their 4-1 win last time out against Garena Young Lions as Shamil Sharif and Syahiran Miswan were handed a starting spot, while Miroslav Kristic started for the hosts for the first time since returning from injury.
The Protectors took control early in the match, establishing their tempo and threatened to break the deadlock just six minutes into the game when Abdil Qaiyyim rose the highest to meet Zulfahmi Arifin’s corner, but sent his header just inches over the crossbar.
A fantastic threaded pass from Syahiran two minutes later found Ilso unmarked in the 18-yard box, but the Dane chose to square the ball across to Begue despite only having Tigers custodian Zaiful Nizam to beat.
Begue then tried to fire off a shot in the six-yard box, but Hanafi Salleh got back in time to block the Frenchman’s fierce drive.
Zulfahmi then created space for himself outside the box in the 23rd minute after cutting in from the right flank, but sent his low drive just wide of the near post.
Balestier were then presented with a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when Fazli Ayob’s curling free-kick in the 27th minute found Smajoviic Sadin, but the Croatian glanced his header just wide of the mark.
The Protectors were then awarded a penalty after Emir Lotinac was deemed to have fouled Juma’at Jantan in the box and Ilso stepped up to convert from the spot to put the visitors ahead.
The Tigers could have gone into the break when they were awarded a free-kick four minutes from the interval, but Fazli’s set-piece flew just over the top of the crossbar.
Goalscoring opportunities remained at a premium for the two sides in the second period as Kraljevic’s men showed sponge-like qualities in soaking up the Protectors attacks, but struggled to carve out chances for themselves.
Balestier however, almost pulled level against the run of play when Sadic sold Camara a dummy inside the 18-yard box, but could only send his shot straight into the arms of Home custodian Zulfairuz Rudy.
Ilso could have netted two goals to claim a hat-trick in a space of two minutes, but the Dane drew a save from Zaiful after a fierce drive from just outside the box, before sending his shot into the side-netting while under pressure from Hanafi Salleh despite being through on goal.
A goalmouth melee ensued in Home’s 18-yard box two minutes from time when Hanafi’s cross was tipped by Zulfairuz into the path of Sadin, who slid the ball across to an unmarked Shah Zulkanean.
To the dismay of the Tigers’ fans, the substitute completely mis-kicked the ball despite being only six-yards away from goal.
Balestier had a final opportunity to grab an equaliser deep in stoppage time, but Zaiful’s free-kick deflected off the wall and out of play as the final whistle arrived minutes later.
Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic: “We were unlucky to concede a goal from a penalty, but we worked hard to get back into the game and we had a few chances to equalise and maybe even win the game.”
Home United coach Philippe Aw: “We dominated the game in the first-half and we could have killed the game off as well. We knew Balestier would give us a tough fight in the second-half and true enough they came out fighting.
“It was an important win for us and I’m very glad we managed to grind out a result.”
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Hanafi Salleh, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Emir Lotinac, Fazli Ayob, Hazzuwan Halim (Shah Zulkanean 71′), Gary Loo, Smajovic Sadin, Zulkiffli Hassim (Jamil Ali 61′), Miroslav Kristic (Syafiq Zainal 65′)
Home United: Zulfairuz Rudy (GK), Juma’at Jantan (C), Abdil Qaiyyim, Sirina Camara, Sim Teck Yi (Shahrin Saberin 46′), Zulfahmi Arifin, Syahiran Miswan, Ambroise Begue (Khairul Nizam 73′), Shamil Sharif (Redzwan Atan 87′), Aqhari Abdullah, Ken Ilso