League Cup Review: Balestier maul Warriors, Albirex down Home

Matchday 1 of the TNP League Cup saw Balestier Khalsa claiming a stunning 4-0 upset win over league champions Warriors FC, while Albirex Niigata (Singapore) picked up a 2-0 win against Home United.

Balestier and Albirex now lead Group B and C respectively, where they are well-positioned to make the semi-finals.  

Balestier Khalsa 4 Warriors FC 0

The Tigers dominated the game from start to finish at the Toa Payoh Stadium and ran out deserved winners in the end.

After spurning several opportunities, they finally broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time via Miroslav Kristic, who expertly took down Tarik Cmajcanin’s lofted ball before firing a neat low finish past Warriors goalkeeper Daniel Ong.

That opened the floodgates as the 25-year-old doubled Balestier’s lead three minutes after the restart, nodding home from six yards out after Ong had flapped at Ahmad Syahir’s right-wing cross.

Things got even better for Marko Kraljevic’s men 16 minutes from time as Hazzuwan Halim unselfishly squared the ball across goal for fellow substitute Ignatius Ang to tap home.

Kristic then completed his hat-trick a minute from time, pouncing on a loose ball inside the box before slotting it past a stranded Ong in the Warriors goal.

Albirex Niigata (S) 2 Home United 0

Meanwhile, the White Swans punished a profligate Home United side with two late goals at Jurong East Stadium.

The visitors created several chances throughout, with Ambroise Begue and Kamel Ramdani both seeing their efforts denied by the woodwork, while Stanely Ng somehow skewed wide from six yards out.

Eventually they were made to pay 10 minutes from time as Albirex left-back Itsuki Yamada forced his way into the box before squeezing his shot past an onrushing Shahril Jantan in the Home goal.

Tatsuyuki Okuyama’s side then sealed the victory deep into injury time as substitute Kento Nagasaki cut inside his man, before firing a sumptuous acute angled shot past the hapless Shahril.

Photos: Football Association of Singapore