Singapore Premier League • September 14, 2015
Warriors Bounce Back To End Tigers’ Unbeaten Run
Written By: Kenneth Ho
Warriors FC ended a run of four league games without a win as they trounced Balestier Khalsa 4-2 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday evening.
The result not only ended Balestier’s run of eight league games without defeat, but also allowed the Warriors to leagfrog them and go into second place, just two points away from league leaders Brunei DPMM.
Fazrul Nawaz earned himself a brace, while Hafiz Rahim and Miroslav Pejic too etched their name onto the score sheet.
Yusiskandar Yusop and Poh Yifeng’s dismissal early in the second half meant that Balestier were always going to struggle in the game, but they still managed to score two goals via Miroslav Kristic deep in injury time.
The opening period of the game was fairly tight, with both sides unwilling to yield.
However, a lapse in concentration by Balestier’s backline allowed Fazrul to latch onto Hafiz’s lob, and he coolly slot past Zaiful Nizam for the opener in the 15th minute.
Four minutes later, Pejic scored a similar goal as he ran onto Kevin McCann’s pass before finishing into the bottom corner.
Ignatius Ang could have reduced the deficit for the Tigers in the 34th minute after finding himself with only Shahul Rayyan to beat, but the goalkeeper smothered the ball in the nick of time.
It could have easily been 3-0 to the Warriors just before the break when Nurullah Hussein accidentally headed the ball towards Fazrul, but the striker contrived to fire straight at Zaiful instead.
In the second half, Balestier came out battling as Kristic powered a strong header at goal, but Shahul was well-positioned to catch the ball in the 49th minute.
The Tigers’ plans would start to unravel minutes later, starting with Yusiskandar’s dismissal in the 53rd minute for a high-boot challenge on Pejic.
Two minutes later, Poh Yifeng followed him into the tunnel for catching Karlo Ivancic in the face with his elbow.
Their numerical disadvantage allowed Warriors to pour forward and the reigning league champions duly capitalised on it in the 58th minute.
Fazrul once again showcased his predatory instinct, as he raced ahead to sweep home McCann’s cross from the right to make it 3-0.
The Warriors were not done yet though, with Hafiz scoring a sublime effort in the 85th minute, after his lob from 15 yards out sailed over Zaiful and into goal.
Credit to the Tigers, they never gave up and they were duly rewarded with two consolation goals deep in injury time.
First, Kristic towered above the rest to plant a header past Shahul before he ran through on goal and chipped over the onrushing goalkeeper minutes later.
However, it proved too late for the Tigers as the referee soon blew for the final whistle.
Warriors FC: Shahrul Rayyan (GK), Marcus Wheeler, Marin Vidosevic, Emmeric Ong, Miroslav Pejic, Kevin McCann (Shi Jiayi 72′), Fazrul Nawaz (Hazim Faiz 72′), Daniel Bennett (C), Irwan Shah, Hafiz Rahim, Karlo Ivancic (Hafsyar Farkhan 76′)
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Yusiskandar Yusop, Emir Lotinac, Igor Cerina, Nurullah Hussein, Zulkiffli Hassim (Hazzuwan Halim 59′), Robert Pericic (Jonathan Xu 59′), Tarik Cmajcanin (Ridwan Jamil 70′), Miroslav Kristic, Ignatius Ang, Poh Yifeng