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, April 22, 2016

Tigers Bagged Three Points, Finally ...

He was shouting at the top of his voice whenever his team failed to string up some decent passes and would gesticulating frantically at any moment his team gave the ball away cheaply in the match.

However, at the end of the day what really matters to Coach Marko Kraljevic is the first three full points safety in the bag for his Balestier Khalsa side who prior to this match was the only team in the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League without a victory to their name.

Miroslav Kristic (extremely right) opened the account of the night
When asked after the two-nil win over the cellar-dwellers Garena Young Lions at their Toa Payoh base if his side would have scored a few more to make the win a more comfortable one given how the possession was dominated by their opponents, the former midfielder opined it's about the number of goals scored that win the games not the numbers of passes and possession hold by a team.

Said the Croatian coach:"Young Lions kept the possession in the game but it's not about how many passes you made to win, it's the number of goals you scored to win the game."

Adam Swandi (17) was replaced before the break due to injury
"It's not easy to play under this kind of pressure and I hope with this victory tonight, we will start to climb up." he added.

Despite two goals conceded, it was fair to say the visiting Garena Young Lions were the better side for the first half of this opening second-round fixture against their hosts, in term of possession holding.

Ironically, it was the mainly youth-based squad that caused an upset by beating one of the Republic’s AFC Cup representative back in February when the two first met.

Another Balestier's attack foiled by the Young Lions in second half
Khairul Amri's (19) free-kick ricocheted off the Tigers' wall 
Croatian striker Miroslav Kristic opened the account in the fourth minute before Fadli Kamis added on the second in the 38th minute to boast the buffer before the break, which in between that gap saw the Young Lions strung up passes and making runs around the Tigers' domain that only to find themselves clueless in making what it matters most - putting the ball to the back of the net.

To make things worse for the youngsters was the exit of striker Adam Swandi minutes before the interval following a knock on his face that saw him stretchered out of the game for treatment, late introduction of national striker Khairul Amri to beef up the visitors' firepower proved futile as well given his recent return to action after a lengthy injury.

Garena Young Lions' Coach Patrick Hesse talks to the media
Facing the media after being the only team that was beaten once by the rest in the league, Young Lions coach Patrick Hesse rued at those missed opportunities to score.

"We had the opportunities where we couldn't score." said the Frenchmen. "I think we made some good possession in the game, having 70 percent of the time and played two touches but was disappointed at how the crosses were delivered."

"Amri has not been playing for the past five months due to the injury, we hope to see him fit into the team as his experience is what we needed." added Coach Hesse on the 31-year-old star whose late introduction in the game saw his effort from a free-kick ricocheted off the Balestier's wall shortly before the game was over.

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