Balestier strike late to hold Warriors in drab affair

The Tigers’ winless start to the domestic competition continued after a 1-1 draw with Warriors.

Fresh off of a heroic win in the regional AFC Cup over Kitchee SC, it was expected that Balestier Khalsa would be fuelled to maintain the momentum when they faced Warriors FC in the league.

However, the Tigers could only salvage a 1-1 draw with Warriors FC at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.

The latest result meant that the Tigers have failed to register a single league victory in four matches, with one defeat and three draws.

Right from the get-go, the signs were clear that the encounter was set to be a dour affair, with the Tigers happy to let the Warriors dictate the possession and pace of the game.

Only after 55 minutes of insipidness from both sides, did the Warriors finally take the lead with a sublime piece of individual brilliance by Shaiful Esah.

Producing an outrageous nutmeg to beat his marker, Shaiful then drilled in a cross from the right flank for forward Jonathan Behe to tap the ball into the net.

Warriors’ centre-back pairing of Madhu Mohana and Kento Fukuda had one of the easiest nights in their career, but a momentary lapse of concentration in the dying minutes cost them dearly.

Fazli Ayob’s 90th-minute floated free-kick was met by Fadli Kamis, who had outmuscled Madhu before connecting with a thumping header which left Yazid Yasin with no chance.

Kraljevic was elated with the point and felt that the match was a reflection of the league’s extremely competitive nature this season.

He said: “Nobody has beaten anyone comfortably till now, in the league and that shows you that every game is tough.”

“Of course we want more points (than currently) but I am pleased with what we have till now.”

The former Balestier forward also praised his side’s all-local defence of Fadli, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Hanafi Salleh and Nurullah Hussein for their performances.

“We are defending very well with all the local boys and I feel that some of them should even be called up for the national team,” he added.

“I cannot be happier with our performance, especially defensively.”

Warriors’ Jorg Steinebrunner, admitted his disappointment at his side’s failure to claim all three points but spoke positively of his side’s display.

He said: “I was happy with the performance of our team and over the 90 minutes, we were the better footballing side.”

“It is frustrating (to concede late on) but I was happy to see my players match the opponents physically, especially when we knew that it wouldn’t be easy to come here and get many chances.”

Photo: Weixiang Lim / FFT