News


Balestier Fell White Swans Before Bumper Crowd

Friday night’s Great Eastern-YEO’S S.League match at Jurong East Stadium set a season record as a crowd of 2,502 filled the stands to watch Albirex Niigata (Singapore) take on Balestier Khalsa – the biggest number so far for a game in Singapore.

The two sides did not disappoint the many who had turned up, providing some marvellous entertainment, with visitors Balestier upsetting Albirex 2-1.

The win, coming after two performances that had fallen well short of the Tigers’ best according to their coach Darren Stewart, arrived after some soul-searching at Toa Payoh among the playing and coaching staff in the week leading up to the game.

With Zulkiffli Hassim returning to the side following his two-match suspension – barely a day after completing his reservist commitments – the visitors clearly appeared boosted by the speedy midfielder’s inclusion again.

Stewart typically tried to play down the significance of Zulkiffli’s return, but was moved to offer a compliment after the player had opened the scoring on 28 minutes to inspire the victory.

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Hard Tigers Visit Awaits Albirex

Friday night’s match at Jurong East Stadium between Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Balestier Khalsa is possibly one of the hardest to read this week.

Both of these are teams which will be keen to re-establish their credentials as early – and in many eyes surprise – challengers matching strides.

After winning their opening three games, the White Swans from Niigata, who were the first leaders for the new season, faced three far tougher propositions and faltered a little, much to their dismay.

Balestier also enjoyed a rare appearance at the top of the ladder, before they similarly stumbled and fell from those lofty heights as rivals envious of their new-found status as frontrunners were ready to cut them down to size.

Albirex have not always been as reliable at home as they were last season, so it would be odd to say that Balestier cannot beat them there, even when one harks back to an era when the Tigers were more familiar with a role as battlers nearer the foot of the table than as title contenders.

In 2010, for instance, Brazilian star Rivaldo Costa helped the visitors to a surprise 1-0 win at Jurong East, while in 2005 Balestier met the Japanese side twice at the same venue, securing a 0-0 draw and a 1-0 win.

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Balestier Frustrated As Late Goals Cancel Out

For 80 long minutes on Sunday evening, Balestier Khalsa were wondering just what they had to do to take the lead against the Courts Young Lions as they comfortably held their hosts at Jalan Besar off.

They must therefore have thought they had done the job when Patrick Paranjody slammed a shot home from off a corner, but there was to be no joy for them in the end as a Faris Ramli free kick just two minutes later restored parity.

Parity is seldom the same as equality where football is concerned, and in many ways this match was one such, Balestier looking the better side in terms of both skill and purpose.

Yet Tigers coach Darren Stewart had a point when he remarked that his team would not have deserved the win had they got it, as his charges failed to show the superior organisation that would have taken their opponents apart.

The Young Lions came into the match dead short on personnel, as National Football Academy trainee Anumanthan Mohan Kumar was brought in to shore up the midfield alongside Shamil Sharif.

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BALESTIER KHALSA FOOTBALL CLUB

Club Office:
297 Lorong 6, Toa Payoh, Toa Payoh Stadium (Gate 3), Singapore 319389
Tel: +65-6356 0049 Fax: +65-6356 5006

 

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