Tigers halt White Swans' perfect record

Albirex Niigata's perfect start to the 2016 S.League season came to an end on Saturday evening after Balestier Khalsa held them to a 1-1 draw.

The White Swans had taken the lead after Nurullah Hussein scored an own goal in the first half, but Jamil Ali came off the bench to rescue a point for Balestier.
The hosts enjoyed a good start to the game and had the ball in the net after just eight minutes of play, only for it to be ruled out.
 
After Albirex goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa had parried away Sheikh Abdul Hadi's effort, Miroslav Kristic was on hand to tuck away the rebound. Unfortunately, he was deemed to be offside and the goal chalked off.
 
Ten minutes later, Fazli Ayob hit a curler towards goal but Yosuke was able to make the save.
 
It was the White Swans' turn to threaten in the 21st minute, but Atsushi Kawata contrived to shoot wide after making a brilliant run into the box.
 
The deadlock was finally broken in the 31st minute, when Nurullah Hussein tried to head away Masaya Jitozono's free-kick but diverted it into his own goal instead.
 
Kristic had a chance to level matters just before the half ended, but his 25-yard free-kick sailed inches past the top corner.
 
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic then threw on Jamli Ali in the 53rd minute in a bid to get an equaliser and the move paid off handsomely two minutes later.
 
Running onto Fazli's cross, Jamil proceeded to volley at goal. While Nozawa managed to get a touch in,the ball still crossed the line to make it 1-1.
 
The White Swans nearly regained the lead on the hour mark, but Daichi Ishiyaba wasted a good chance and smashed his close-range shot into the side-netting.
 
More chances came for the White Swans but they were unable to find a way past Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.
 
The Balestier captain was called upon to make a fine save from Tatsuro Inui's drive in the 82nd minute, before he made a top-drawer save to tip away Kazuki Mine's header at full stretch in the 89th minute.
 
The result was especially disappointing for Albirex coach Naoki Naruo, as he felt his side did enough to earn three points.
 
"We were here to win the three points today, so it's very disappointing," Naoki Naruo said after his side's two-game winning start to the season came to an end.
 
"We had some big chances, so from now we have to improve the point and score those kind of chances."
 
Kraljevic on the other hand stated that he was happy with the result and glad that his tactical switch yielded dividends.
 
"Excellent point! At the end of the day, we could have won but the point is great," Kraljevic said. 
 
"The boys worked very hard today and they deserve this."
 
Photo: S.League