Singapore Cup • November 6, 2014

Protectors Standing in Tiger’s Path For Cup History



RHB Singapore Cup Final

Balestier Khalsa vs Home United

(October 31, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Just a week after locking horns on the final day of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season, Balestier Khalsa and Home United will meet again – this time in the RHB Singapore Cup Final at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

For Home, it will be a chance for redemption after yet another league title eluded them this year while it will be Balestier’s first-ever appearance in the Singapore Cup Final.

En-route to the grand finale, Home comfortably saw off invited teams NagaCorp FC and Loyola Meralco Sparks before they faced their sternest test in Brunei DPMM in the semi-finals. Home passed the test with flying colours after they managed to overcome DPMM with a 4-3 aggregate win over two legs.

Despite being possibly 90 minutes away from adding a record seventh Singapore Cup trophy in the cabinet, the Protectors are not taking anything for granted according to assistant coach Aidil Sharin Sahak.

“We are not going to get carried away with this result [1-0 win over Balestier last week], and of course we are not going to celebrate because it’s not over until the final whistle,” Aidil said. “We are going to approach it like any other game because for us, every game is like a final”

“I think any Final is always tight, both teams are capable of winning it. That’s why both of us are in the Final. We will give our best, that’s for sure.”

On the other hand, Balestier shocked newly-crowned league champions Warriors FC in the Preliminary Round with a 3-1 victory, and followed it up with victories over Geylang International and Tampines Rovers to reach thus far.

This season, Tigers coach Marko Kraljevic has transformed Balestier from perennial underdogs into giant-killers, giving the powerhouses a run for their money and also successfully maintaining a top-six finish in the process.

Forward Goran Ljubojevic has been banging in the goals for the Toa Payoh-based side while goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam has been immense between the sticks, the key reasons for Balestier’s resurgence this season.

While he remained coy about his tactics, Kraljevic noted: “[It’s going to be a] different approach, everything is going to be different. Different stadium, artificial pitch so everything is different.

“I‘m not sure [about my starting lineup] yet. I need to check on my players [and see if there are any injuries to them.”

Balestier Khalsa – LDLWW

31/10/14  Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home United

24/10/14  Brunei DPMM 1-1 Balestier Khalsa

18/10/14  Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa

6/10/14    Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

1/10/14    Warriors FC 0-1 Balestier Khalsa

Home United – WLLLW

31/10/14  Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home United

24/10/14  Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Home United

17/10/14  Home United 2-3 Warriors FC

2/10/14    Home United 0-1 Tampines Rovers

26/9/14    Brunei DPMM 2-3 Home United (RHB Singapore Cup SF 2nd Leg; 3-4 on aggregate)

Head to Head (S.League)

31/10/14  Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home United

20/6/14    Balestier Khalsa 3-0 Home United

5/4/14      Home United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa

25/10/13 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home United

17/7/13   Home United 1-2 Balestier Khalsa

4/4/13     Balestier Khalsa 0-4 Home United

17/6/12   Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Home United

10/2/12   Home United 0-0 Balestier Khalsa

2/8/11      Balestier Khalsa 0-4 Home United

4/5/11      Home United 5-2 Balestier Khalsa