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[RHB Singapore Cup] Agony for the Tigers as Protectors march on to the Final

Tigers came close to tap on this melee in 20th minute
It was a dream that came to an abrupt end with Balestier Khalsa saw their unprecedented bid for a cup double ended in an agony.

Given a precedence that saw the newly crowned League Cup winners came from behind to beat Hougang United to be in the RHB Singapore Cup's "Final Four", hopes were high for the Tigers to repeat the same feat against Home United who were on a slim advantage of a goal margin after their semi-final first-leg win at Toa Payoh last week.

In a match that was relocated to the Jalan Besar Stadium from Bishan Stadium for unspecific reasons, both teams took onto the field knowing a slip would be costly for either side in their bid for glory. However, the cautious approach was soon overshadowed by some physical plays on the field that saw referee Leow Thiam Hoe reaching for his pocket on numerous occasions to keep things in check.

The red card incident in the 33rd minute

Kim Minho (15) got ahead of Sirina Camara in this duel

Inevitably, things got a bit ugly in the 33rd minute when Balestier Khalsa's Ruhaizad Ismail collected his second yellow after received his first twelve minutes earlier and off to an early shower.

Despite on a numerical advantage after that, things were not looking easy for Home United either with the brick-like defence of the Tigers that stood in between them and that elusive goal to increase their advantage on aggregate.

Gabriel Obadin (20) kept Jordan Webb (11) in check

Firdaus Idros sent Home to Final in 67th min

The score remained goal-less at the interval and it was only midway in the second half that the break came through from the right flank when Hafiz Rahim's sprint saw he unlatched the Balestier's back-line from that end to shackle the last frontier with Firdaus Idros pounced on the rebound to take the lead and two goal advantage in total in the 67th minute.

That strike was enough to see Lee Lim Saeng's men back to the Cup final for the first time since 2011 when they last won the trophy. However, the Korean coach will face a difficult problem on the 8th of November following the suspensions meted out to two of his key players during the match in which both Juma'at Jantan and Masrezwan Masturi collected their yellows as well.

"Yellow Fever" with Kim Minho got his as well

"I will need to think about my strategy for the next game (final)." was the only remark by Coach Lee when prompted on his thought on those due absentees by the media after the game.

"I don't think the red card (on Ruhaizad) gave us much advantage in the game, as there were many dangerous situations during the game but I am happy to see my players tried their best tonight and now it's important that no one get any injury since we are facing a good side in Tanjong Pagar United in the final." added Coach Lee in concluding his thoughts on the game.

Home's Coach Lee aiming for his second Cup win

On the other hand, Balestier Khalsa's coach Darren Stewart is not dejected by his boys' performance this evening and lauded what they had achieved so far in this season.

Said the former Johor FA player:"I am proud of my team tonight, as they are outstanding in defeat for keeping their calm and it was a superb performance for having come back from a poor performance last week which done the club proud."


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