Match Previews

Balestier Khalsa vs Garena Young Lions: Will the Young Lions bring misery to the Tigers again?

S.League | Toa Payoh Stadium | Thursday 21 April | 

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Battle of the bottom two.

The lowdown:

Both Balestier Khalsa and Young Lions come into this game after getting battered by Brunei DPMM in Brunei 3-1 and 4-1 respectively, and this game will test the mettle of the two wounded animals.

Garena Young Lions’ three points on the table came when they met Balestier Khalsa in February in a 1-0 win and since then, both teams have gone on to produce underwhelming results.

Balestier especially, are yet to win a league game this season. They are second from bottom with three points, with three draws and five losses.

The Young Lions are bottom with three points as well but have conceded far more goals than Balestier Khalsa with no draws and seven losses in eight games.

Balestier Khalsa Form

  • Brunei DPMM 3-1 Balestier (S.League)
  • Balestier 0-3 Kaya FC (AFC Cup)
  • Tampines Rovers 1-0 Balestier (S.League)
  • Balestier 0-1 Home United (S) (S.League)
  • Hougang United 1-0 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)

Young Lions Form

  • Brunei DPMM 4-1 Young Lions (S.League)
  • Garena Young Lions 1-2 Tampines (S.League)
  • Home United 4-1 Young Lions (S.League)
  • Young Lions 1-3 Hougang United (S.League)
  • Warriors FC  2-0 Young Lions (S.League)

Balestier’s main problem this season has been in front of goal and that is apparent when you look at the table as they have only managed to score three.

The Young Lions, even with the absence of Singapore veteran Khairul Amri, have notched two more than the Tigers.

Since returning from injury, star striker and last season’s third top scorer with 16 goals, Miroslav Kristic, has yet to get going this season.

Coach Marko Kraljevic will be hoping his star man finds the back off the net as opposed to the woodworks which has been the order of the season so far with Balestier hitting the bar and posts in many of the games this season.

In contrast, Young Lions’ striker Fareez Farhan is having a purple patch season so far, scoring all five of the team’s goals.

Team News:

Robert Pericic continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury for the Tigers and Fazli Ayob is suspended while fans at the Toa Payoh Stadium may see the return of Khairul Amri who is recovering from the final stages of a calf injury.

Apart from National Service commitments for some members of the Young Lions, both coaches should have the rest of the squad available for selection.

Key Battle: Fareez Farhan vs. Sheikh Abdul Hadi

Fareez Farhan will be a threat to Balestier

This game might be a repeat of the 1-0 score line in February and the in-form striker Fareez Farhan could have the decisive say in inflicting more misery on the Tigers as he is already flying high with five goals to his name so far.

It will be centre-back Sheikh Abdul Hadi’s responsibility to keep the 21-year-old striker at bay and ensure that his team keeps a clean sheet with the strike force having difficulties in front of goal.

The Coaches

Nothing has gone right for Marko Kraljevic this season but having had the bitter taste of defeat against Patrick Hesse’s Garena Young Lions two months prior, he might have a trick or two up his sleeve to ensure his side walk away with their first league win of the season.

Kraljevic will also be hoping that Kristic helps his cause by finding the back of the net this time.

Hesse on the other hand has the one win this season against Kraljevic and has his star young striker Fareez to rely on in front of goal.

Last Five Meetings

  • Young Lions 1-0 Balestier (S.League, Feb ’16)
  • Balestier 1-0 Young Lions (S.League, Oct ’15)
  • Young Lions 2-2 Balestier (S.League, Jul ‘15)
  • Balestier 5-1 Young Lions (S.League, Apr ’15)
  • Balestier 3-1 Young Lions (S.League May’ 14)

Facts and Figures:

  • Prior to the win in February, GYL did not beat Balestier in the previous 12 head-to-heads. Their last win came in October 2011, when Hariss Harun and Safuwan Baharudin scored in a 2-0 win.
  • GYL lead in the overall head-to-heads though, with 18 wins in 36 encounters. Balestier won 13 times, while the other five games ended in draws.
  • GYL have conceded the most goals this season with 22 while Balestier have conceded 9
  • GYL have scored two more goals (5) than Balestier (3)
  • Balestier are the only team yet to win this season

FourFourTwo prediction:

It should finish 1-0 to the Young Lions. With a misfiring strike force, it is difficult to see Balestier find the back of the net.