For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Kraljevic's "step-by-step" approach for the new season ...

Coach Kraljevic speaking to the media (credit: Playmaker)
After their first pre-season friendly match against the visiting Johor Darul Takzim II (JDT II) that ended in a two-all draw at the Toa Payoh Stadium, Balestier Khalsa's Croatian coach Marko Kraljevic breathe a sign of relief when he addressed the media pack after the match.

Said the Singapore permanent resident:"This is the only second time we used the pitch after it was closed for maintenance and I am feeling okay and relief after able to do so after a month,

"I thought we started promising for the first twenty minutes before things don't turn out well for us, overall I think we did well but we just need some time to adjust, since our foreign players only arrived last week." summarized by Coach Kraljevic on his thoughts on sharing the spoils with the Malaysia Premier League side that is led by Goran Paulic, his former teammate at the Toa Payoh-based club during the days of the semi-professional Premier League and the inaugural season of the S.League in 1996.

Taking onto the field last evening saw the Tigers paraded their all their new imports - namely defender Emir Lotinac whom they retained from last season's list, Igor Cerina (signed from Hougang United) with new faces in the likes of Tarik Cmajcanin, Robert Pericic and Miroslav Kristic.

Particularly, Croatian striker Miroslav Kristic shown his class in this hastily-arranged match by scoring two goals in the sixth and 63rd minute** against the Johoreans that eventually halted the guests' fine record in recent weeks against Singaporean sides (prior to this match, JDT II notched up 3-1 victories against both Hougang United and Courts Young Lions).

Field is ready for play again at Toa Payoh
However, opinions from Coach Kraljevic suggested it's still early to draw comparison between his new import signings and those who were instrumental in their campaign last season that saw them crowned as the RHB Singapore Cup winners.

Said the 50-year-old:"We will be expecting more from them (the foreign players) and have to raise the bar to do better than Goran (Ljubojević) and Kim (Min-ho), it's not easy but we have to do better."

In spite of that, the former midfield maestro is not in a rush to fix up a few more friendlies to get his team in shape for their maiden AFC Cup tournament opener, which is due to kick off in late February against either Kitchee or Sun Pegasus.

"I just want to take things slowly and step by step that I think we have more than enough time to get ready (for the AFC Cup), it's going to be tough as we will have to travel away for four days (to play in this tournament),

"Furthermore, we don't have a big squad which something not ideal, but we just have to try to do our best and stay injury free."

(** While there was a dispute on whether Kristic was the scorer of the two goals, the final update was based on the update provided by Balestier Khalsa's FB page which linked from the bold italic text)

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