News Singapore Cup • September 24, 2018

Singapore Cup Preview: Kraljevic’s Balestier fired up to salvage pride for local sides against DPMM


Kraljevic tasted Singapore Cup success in 2014.

SINGAPORE, 24 SEP 2018Balestier Khalsa FC Head Coach Marko Kraljevic wants his side to salvage some pride for local teams as they take on Brunei DPMM FC on Wednesday evening, 26 September at Jalan Besar Stadium in the first leg of the RHB Singapore Cup semi-final at 7.45pm.

BACKGROUND No local clubs have won any domestic silverware since Warriors FC’s league triumph and Balestier’s Singapore Cup success in 2014.

On the other hand, DPMM and Albirex Niigata FC (S) have been sweeping up accolade after accolade, with the White Swans successfully retaining their title this season already.

In fact, the last Singapore Cup final featured two foreign clubs, with Albirex beating Global Cebu to retain the trophy for a third season in a row.

Kraljevic could not hide his dismay at the current state of affairs, having been part of the local scene since his Balestier Central days.

“We need to work harder and show the fans that we can be better. It’s not good for foreign teams to be in all the finals all the time,” Kraljevic said.

“We need to raise our game and for our boys to be more competitive.”

The Tigers will have to fight to earn a spot in the season-ending final though, as DPMM demonstrated their might with a eventual 5-2 aggregate win over Warriors FC.

Azwan Ali and Volodymyr Priyomov were among the goals in DPMM’s last game and Kraljevic highlighted them as threats to his team’s hopes.

But he believes his side will need little motivation to take the game to the Wasps and put on a show.

“This is a chance for a spot in the final, the boys won’t need much motivation other than that. We are always ready and everyone is looking forward to the game,” he declared.

Rene Weber will have to watch this game from the stands after being sent off in the last round. He otherwise will have a full squad to send out.

Balestier last played two weeks ago so the squad should be well rested for this tie. Noor Akid Nordin returns from suspension and is available for selection again.

Balestier: LWDDW

07/07/18: DPMM 2-2 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
13/05/18: Balestier 1-2 DPMM – Singapore Premier League
16/10/17: DPMM 1-4 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
21/08/17: Balestier 2-2 DPMM – Singapore Premier League
11/07/17: DPMM 3-0 Balestier – League Cup

Azwan Ali – DPMM
Azwan finally got the monkey off his back with his first goal of the season and it will surely have given him a confidence boost. With Adi Said in red-hot form, many have overlooked his ability to cross from deep but this might prove crucial against the Tigers.

Huzaifah Aziz – Balestier
This midfielder has grabbed his chance with both hands to put in some eye-catching displays. He has improved in his finishing and deliveries, which will help to take the burden off forward Hazzuwan Halim.

DPMM Head Coach Rene Weber: “Always, our fight is to play the real football we have. When we play in our way of keeping the ball and using the tactics we have, we win.

“This will be a hard game because they have a good team and two foreigners who are tall and strong in attack. The playoffs are always 50-50 but I believe we can take the lead, because I always believe in my team.”

Balestier Head Coach Kraljevic: “This is the only thing left for us to fight for; two more games and we are in the final.

“There are no easy teams, as Hougang showed when they held Albirex to a 2-2 draw. This will be a tight game, but we can do it if we work hard.

“Azwan Ali’s crosses, Volodymyr Priyomov’s striking abilities – DPMM’s attack is very good and we must be very careful.”

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