Singapore Premier League • February 24, 2014
Title Aspirant Balestier Thump Young Lions
Written By: Kenneth Ho
Title hopefuls Balestier Khalsa routed Courts Young Lions 4-0 to begin their Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2014 season at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday evening.
Balestier’s marquee signing Goran Ljubojevic opened the scoring from the spot within six minutes of kick off, while Kim Min Ho added a second six minutes later.
Poh Yi Feng scored a screamer on the half-hour mark, and Park Kang Jin put in a man of the match shift and capped his display with a goal via a curling freekick in the 68th minute.
The scoreline was reflective of Balestier’s dominance in this game, especially in the first half when their goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam was a virtual bystander.
Right from kick off, the floodgates threatened to break open when a careless back pass was made to Young Lions goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah. A lurking Ljubojevic nearly connected with the ball but Rudy managed to get to the ball before the Croatian did.
Balestier had the ball in the net three minutes later when Yusiskandar Yusop’s lashed shot from 30-yards was deflected past Rudy.
However, the goal was disallowed as the referee had already blown for an infringement in the box and awarded the Tigers a penalty which Ljubojevic duly converted to score on his debut.
This was followed up by Paul Cunningham who went for power rather than technique as he rattled the crossbar with a free kick from the edge of the area.
It became 2-0 shortly after, when Park brilliantly crossed for his Korean compatriot after he spotted Kim’s lung bursting run into the box, and Kim finished calmly past Rudy.
Poh Yi Feng then scored a possible contender for Goal of the season when he half-volleyed a looping clearance into the top corner from 20 yards out to help his side cap an impressive first half.
Despite the commanding lead, there was no let off from Balestier after the break as they constantly battered Young Lions, with efforts from Kim and Zulkiffli Hassim coming close.
The fourth goal finally came when Young Lions defender Sheikh Abdul Hadi brought down Kim at the edge of the box for a free kick and Park stepped up to curl a magnificent effort into the net.
There were more chances for the Tigers to increase the margin of defeat thereafter, with Paul Cunningham and Park testing Rudy on several occasions.
However, the youngster managed to produce some good saves to earn some reprieve for himself, before the referee finally ended the Young Lions’ misery by calling time on the game.