Warriors seal third win with Ignatius Ang scorcher against Balestier Khalsa
Warriors FC continued their recent renaissance as they comfortably defeated an understrength Balestier Khalsa FC side 3-0 at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturday evening.
Ignatius Ang broke the deadlock against his former employers midway through the first half, before Jonathan Behe scored twice in the second half to ensure the Warriors pick up a third straight victory and go fifth in the SPL standings.
Meanwhile the result meant Balestier fell to their fourth defeat in five games, although they remain in fourth.
Despite being on the back of two straight wins, the Warriors started off slowly with their first opening coming only after 15 minutes.
A Balestier defensive lapse allowed Behe to sneak through on goal, but Zaiful Nizam rushed out of his goal well to close down the free-scoring Frenchman.
Mirko Grabovac’s men gradually made more inroads and eventually opened the scoring in the 21st minute through a superb move.
Right-back Emmeric Ong played a quick one-two with Nur Luqman, before putting in a low cross into the area. Ang took a touch to steady himself and proceeded to lash home a blistering left-footed drive high past a helpless Zaiful in the Balestier goal.
That was the 25-year-old’s first goal since September 18, 2015 when he netted for Balestier in a 2-2 draw with Geylang International FC.
Playing with an all-local lineup due to injuries to their foreign attacking duo of Vedran Mesec and Keegan Linderboom, Balestier understandably struggled as they created just one chance in the entire first half.
Akbar Shah found himself in an excellent position to convert on 27 minutes after Ahmad Syahir’s cross from the left byline was half-cleared into his path, but his resulting shot was beaten away by Warriors custodian Mukundan Maran.
Warriors held the one-goal lead till half-time and they would double their advantage just three minutes into the second half.
Behe connected well with a right-wing cross to nod home from close range, as the ball trickled in despite Zaiful’s best efforts to keep it out.
Balestier did have a chance to hit back on 55 minutes, but Sufianto Salleh lashed well wide with his weaker right foot from six yards out after Huzaifah Aziz’s free kick was half-cleared into his path.
The Warriors were content to sit back thereafter, with captain Kento Fukuda marshalling the backline well to deny the visitors any meaningful goalscoring opportunities.
Marko Kraljevic’s men did almost halve the deficit 10 minutes before the end, but Hazzuwan Halim’s header off Noor Akid Nordin’s inswinging corner flew wide of the right-hand post.
The home side would eventually add a third on the stroke of full time, with Behe latching onto a teasing right-wing cross for his seventh goal in three games and his 12th goal of the season.
Behe could have ended the night with a hat-trick deep into injury time, but his close-range shot was somehow denied by Zaiful before it rolled in.
The Warriors will take much confidence from this result as they go away to Bandar Seri Begawan to face Brunei DPMM FC next Saturday, while Balestier will look to recover from their poor form when they host Tampines Rovers FC on the same night.
Warriors FC: Mukundan Maran (GK), Emmeric Ong, Delwinder Singh, Kento Fukuda (C), Daniel Shafiq, Nur Luqman (Shamil Sharif 74’), Ismadi Mukhtar, Firdaus Kasman (Poh Yi Feng 81’), Ignatius Ang (Sahil Suhaimi 64’), Tajeli Salamat, Jonathan Behe
Balestier Khalsa FC: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Fadli Kamis, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Nurullah Hussein, Ahmad Syahir, Noor Akid Nordin, Nurisham Jufri, Huzaifah Aziz, Sufianto Salleh (Khairuddin Omar 70’), Hazzuwan Halim, Akbar Shah (Fariz Faizal 82’)
Photo credit: Warriors Facebook