Singapore Premier League • June 21, 2014
Resilient Tigers Stun Home
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Home United suffered their second straight defeat in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League as they fell 3-0 to Balestier Khalsa at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
Kim Min Ho struck an early opener before late goals from Park Kang Jin and Tajeli Salamat sealed all three points for the Tigers, who pulled five points clear of nearest challengers Geylang International with the result.
It was a deserved victory for Marko Kraljevic’s side who put in a disciplined performance to frustrate their opponents as they found it tough to find a way past the Tigers.
The first chance of note came five minutes in when Zulkiffli Hassim’s cutback found Park on the edge of the area. However, the latter’s left-footed effort was kept out by Home custodian Shahril Jantan.
At the other end two minutes later, Lee Kwan Woo’s freekick drew a flying save from Zaiful Nizam and the Tigers found themselves in front in the 10th minute.
Playing a quick one-two with compatriot Park on the edge of the box, Kim then calmly slotted the ball into Shahril’s bottom corner to net his seventh of the season.
Park and Kim nearly combined again in the 14th minute but this time Shahril was equal to the task as he pushed Kim’s shot away for a corner.
It could nearly have been 2-0 for Balestier on the half-hour mark but Goran Ljubojevic’s lob shot crashed off the underside of the bar, to the relief of the beaten Shahril.
Bruno Castanheira then wasted a good chance to pull level on 38 minutes as the Home forward curled a tame shot straight at Zaiful after he was teed up by Song Ui-Young.
It was the same story after the restart as the Protectors continued to lay siege on the Balestier goal but squandered a number of chances to equalise.
In the 79th minute, Fazrul received a pass from Castanheira but blazed disappointingly over when he should have tested Zaiful at the very least.
That miss proved costly as Balestier eventually found their second goal, a peach of a strike from Park.
After robbing Noh Rahman of the ball, the South Korean midfielder then proceeded to send a stunning lob over Shahril from 35 yards out to double the lead for the designated home side ten minutes from time.
It was game set and match in the 90th minute when Tajeli smashed the ball home from close range to round off a well-worked team move as Balestier returned to winning ways after consecutive draws in their last two league games.