News • November 13, 2014
SRC Triumph On Penalties In FA Cup Final
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Balestier Khalsa’s Prime League side failed to replicate the heroics of their seniors, who won the 2014 RHB Singapore Cup, as they fell just short in the Singapore Pools FA Cup Final, losing to National Football League side Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) 5-3 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time.
Ali Imran Lomri netted the opener just after the hour mark, but Balestier’s Ahmad Syahir Sahimi cancelled that out five minutes from time to take the game into the dreaded penalty shootout.
The first-half was a tight affair as the experienced SRC side kept their younger opponents at bay.
Balestier captain Muhaymin Salim flashed a shot wide from the edge of the penalty area while SRC skipper Soo Eng Chong saw his snapshot from a half-cleared corner being palmed away by Naqiuddin Nordin.
The second-half however, saw the deadlock being broken by SRC on 61 minutes against the run of play.
A seemingly harmless cross was fumbled by Balestier custodian Naqiuddin who dropped it under pressure and Ali Imran pounced to bundle the ball over the line to give his side the lead.
Just as SRC were celebrating their victory, the young Tigers struck with five minutes remaining as Ahmad Syahir swept home a low cross from Hanafi Akbar to level the scores and penalties ensued.
Akid Nordin suffered the ignominy of missing his spotkick which allowed Itimi Dickson to step up and successfully convert his and SRC’s fifth to fire the amateur side to glory.
The win delighted SRC coach T. Ramoo, who heaped praise on his players after a tough journey en route to the final.
“I think it’s a great feeling, the fact that we had a disappointing league season but we made it up by winning the FA Cup,” he said. “The team thoroughly deserved it, because we had a tough draw leading up to the finals and we beat all the tougher teams along the way.
“Leading to the final, we actually won all the games on penalties so I think that gave the players a psychological advantage because they are prepared. Playing against a team that is younger, fitter, who trains probably more than us, I think we gave a good account of ourselves.”
On the other hand, Balestier coach D. Tokijan was gracious in defeat but believes this experience can only be beneficial for his players.
“Credit to SRC, they played well. They kept pressing, [while] on my side my team was mostly youngsters,” he said.
“We came too late. In the first-half we let ourselves down because we didn’t pass well. Towards the end we did that and we came back but the players’ mentality [unfortunately] crumbled in the penalties.
“We didn’t make it in the end, but I think they now have vast experience in this game. [They now know] what is [playing in a] final like, what is pressure like and what mental strength is like.”