Singapore Premier League • June 24, 2014
Tampines Takes On Confident Tigers
Balestier Khalsa vs Tampines Rovers
(June 24, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Toa Payoh Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Balestier Khalsa host Tampines Rovers at Toa Payoh Stadium where they will look to continue their good run of form in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.
Marko Kraljevic’s side are unbeaten in five games in all competitions, which includes four in the S.League and are riding high at the moment.
They come into this after a deserved 3-0 win over title hopefuls Home United last Friday in a game where they defended resiliently and took their chances at the other end to emerge with all three points.
The combination of Park Kang Jin and Kim Min Ho was at its best once again as the duo displayed good understanding for the latter’s goal and also got their names on the scoresheet as well.
Meanwhile, Kraljevic is fully aware of the danger Tampines Rovers possesses. The Stags have steadily got themselves back into the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League title race after a flurry of activity in the mid-season transfer window.
Stags’ coach Rafi Ali have recruited Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Justin Pasfield, New Zealand international Jake Butler and former Geylang International midfield maestro Jozef Kaplan.
The trio have assimilated well into the squad and provided the club with a much-needed boost as they seek to retain their league title. They are joint-top with Brunei DPMM and Warriors FC at time of print.
The Tigers have coped well in the absence of captain Paul Cunningham but against Tampines, they have to up their game and be wary of threats from all angles. Kaplan loves to beat his markers down the left while Shahdan Sulaiman has proved to be a hardworking midfielder who is able to create.
It will be an interesting battle in the middle of the park between Butler and Park. Butler will hence be tasked to halt Park’s advancement into the final third with many aware of what the South Korean is capable of.
He scored an instinctive goal against the Protectors when he lobbed Shahril Jantan with a first-time shot from distance. According to InStat, the playmaker who was pretty lively throughout, had a passing accuracy at a whopping 87%.
Key Men To Watch
Balestier Khalsa: Kim Min Ho
After a slow start to the season, the midfielder-cum-forward has picked up in form recently.
Against Home the last time out, Kim scored one and created one as the Tigers romped to a 3-0 victory over the Protectors.
According to InStat, 78% of his passes found its intended target and he had a total of three shots on target as one of which found the net. Hence, if he is allowed a sniff of goal then he could punish Tampines and the Stags will do well to keep a tight leash on him.
Tampines Rovers: Ismadi Mukhtar
The versatile player has enjoyed a new lease of life under current coach Rafi Ali and has been an ever-present in the Tampines side.
His direct running can cause problems and it was one of those runs which saw him provide the cross for Miljan Mrdakovic to head home the opener against Hougang.
According to InStat, he was the best right midfielder of that round of the S.League with a score of 107 and 74% passing accuracy.
Balestier Khalsa – WDDWW
20/6/14 Balestier Khalsa 3-0 Home United
12/6/14 Warriors FC 1-1 Balestier Khalsa
8/6/14 Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
4/6/14 Tanjong Pagar United 0-3 Balestier Khalsa
27/5/14 Warriors FC 1-3 Balestier Khalsa (RHB Singapore Cup)
Tampines Rovers – DWWLW
19/6/14 Tampines Rovers 1-1 Hougang United
13/6/14 Harimau Muda 0-1 Tampines Rovers
10/6/14 Tampines Rovers 2-1 Brunei DPMM
6/6/14 Geylang International 1-0 Tampines Rovers
29/5/14 Harimau Muda (5) 1-1 (6P) (AET) Tampines Rovers (RHB Singapore Cup)
Head to Head (S.League)
13/4/14 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa
24/9/13 Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Tampines Rovers
25/5/13 Balestier Khalsa 4-0 Tampines Rovers
17/3/13 Tampines Rovers 2-1 Balestier Khalsa
23/6/12 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Balestier Khalsa
16/2/12 Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Tampines Rovers
27/11/11 Tampines Rovers 5-0 Balestier Khalsa
6/8/11 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Tampines Rovers
30/4/11 Tampines Rovers 5-0 Balestier Khalsa