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[Starhub League Cup] Tigers need a favour from Cheetahs now...

Tigers' keeper Zaiful Nizam also fumbled this cross
Strange things had happened prior to the Starhub League Cup fixture between Brunei DPMM and Balestier Khalsa.

While faulty goalposts were the reason behind the rescheduling of the match between Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC at Clementi Stadium the day before, the sights of lighting and flashes of thunders did not cause the activation of the Lighting Warning System (LWS) at the Jalan Besar Stadium when it should.

Nonetheless, the game went ahead amid drizzling with defending holders Tigers came with a mission to win this match against two-time winners from the oil rich sultanate to avoid elimination from this tournament.

All eyes on the ball
True to what Tigers coach Marko Kraljevic said after their earlier 3-0 loss to Hougang that fresh legs would be brought for this live televised showdown, the evening saw the likes of Prime Leaguers Alando Nicholas and Muhaymin Salim in starting positions.

It was a game that both sides started cautiously by keeping things tight at the back, knowing a chink in the armour would alter the outcome, even though it was the Bruneians dominated much of the ball play with Balestier did decently well to keep things at the check.

Lotinac (left) handled the ball
The breakthrough came after the first half when Serbian defender Emir Lotinac was judged to have handled the ball with referee Jansen Foo pointed to the spot without any hesitation to allow Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi to trigger the scoreboard in the 57th minute.

But it wasn't that long before Tigers' Croatian menace in the box, Goran Ljubojevic levelled the match at 69th minute, which was cancelled out by Roy O'Donovan to give the designated hosts the lead again in the 79th minute.

Double by Ljubojevic (right) not enough for Tigers
Despite the last thrown of dice in the 83rd minute that saw Ljubojevic put both sides on equal terms again, the writings are clearly on the wall the Toa Payoh-based side's chances of holding the Cup are now hanging by a thread that only a victory by Hougang United over DPMM by four clear goals would see them to the semi-finals of the tournament.

"I thought we should have won the game," said Coach Kraljevic in the post-media briefing.

"Everyone played hard tonight and I am impressed with my players that on different days we could have seen Goran (Ljubojevic) scored more but he only scored two." added the Croatian coach."With many games we played recently, I have to try some new boys tonight (i.e.: Muhaymin and Nicholas) and I am proud with their performance that I think it would add confidence in our league performance."

Kean felt the game was stretched
Meanwhile, DPMM coach Kean felt that it was a fair result when sharing his thoughts with the press.

Said the former Blackburn Rovers manager:"It was a fair result and I thought we were the better side in the first half that I think we done well in putting crosses into the box before I felt the game became a bit stretched for us when we gave away too many set-pieces, though I am disappointed for not winning the match."



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