Duric: Warriors’ loss against Balestier opens up title race

Tampines Rovers forward Aleksandar Duric believes the S.League title is still up for grabs after Warriors FC fell to a 1-0 defeat against Balestier Khalsa last night.

Speaking to FourFourTwo from the sidelines of The Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters press conference at Westin Singapore, the 44-year-old believes that the shock result is a boost for Tampines and the rest of the chasing pack.

“We’re still title contenders, really,” he said.

“Warriors’ loss last night was like a green light for us. So if we win tonight (against Home), the title is still possible for us.”

Currently six points behind leaders Brunei DPMM with four games to go, the Stags can ill-afford to drop any more points if they want to claim their fourth successive title.

Duric is adamant that anything less than a win against Home United tonight could mark the end of their S.League title bid.

“It’s do-or-die tonight, really,” he said.

“It’ll be very hard of course as Home are in the same position as us and they need to win as well. Anything is still possible if we manage to win.”

The Stags have been find the going tough lately with just one win in their last six games in all competitions.

That run of form has seen them fall out of RHB Singapore Cup contention and left them with a significant deficit to make up in the title race.

Duric believes his side need to rediscover their belief in time for what is one of the tightest title races in years.

“It’s really funny this season,” the former Singapore international said.

“There’s a lot of up and downs; it’s not just us, everyone is struggling.

“This is not the season which we’re hoping for and we lost the chance to win something after going out of the Cup.

“Looking at it now, we need more confidence and luck to get going in the last few games.

“We had so many players coming back too early and get injured again, thus we never really got in the rhythm all season. “

A lack of playing time meant Duric has failed to hit the heights of past campaigns, scoring only five league goals all season.

Set to hang up his boots at the end of the season, the evergreen forward hopes to finish the last four games on a better note.

“Obviously I’m disappointed with myself,” he admitted

“I didn’t play and score much this season.

“Now I’m hoping for more playing minutes but it’s the coach (Rafi Ali) who makes the decisions.

“I haven’t spoken to him about this, but it really depends on him.”

The Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters will be held at Jalan Besar Stadium on November 15, 2014. Tickets start from $10 and are on sale at www.ticketbooth.com.sg.

Photo: Weixiang Lim