Schrock’s screamer clinches Singapore Cup third for Ceres

The side secured the highest finish a Filipino side has achieved in the history of the tournament after fighting back from Niko Tokic's opener on Saturday...

Ceres La Salle came from behind to beat Balestier Khalsa 2-1 on Saturday evening at Jalan Besar Stadium to secure third place in the Singapore Cup.

They became the first Philippines side to ever claim third in the tournament, after fourth-place finishes by Global FC and Loyola Meralco in the past few editions.

Niko Tokic had given the Tigers an early lead but Ceres struck back twice in the second half, with Philippines international Stephan Schrock thumping in the winner from 25 yards.

Balestier thought it was going to be their day after only four minutes of play, with Tokic latching onto a long ball before volleying over Louie Casas to open the scoring.

However, they were placed under heavy pressure thereafter, with Zaiful Nizam called upon to parry Schrock’s free-kick in the 28th minute.

We could have equalised, but we were second best.

- Marko Kraljevic

A minute later, Tokic was guilty of a huge miss as he blazed the ball over despite Casas being in no man’s land after missing Hazzuwan Halim’s cross.

Ceres continued to press forward but saw Bienvenido Morejon and Kevin Ingreso both miss gilt-edged chances before the break came.

The Filipino side pressed on and they finally drew level just after the hour mark. Zaiful punched a cross against the post and it fell for Ott to thump home in the 63rd minute.

And it was the Busmen who scored again five minutes later, with Schrock smashing a screamer past Zaiful from all of 25 yards to give Ceres the lead.

Balestier tried to find a way back into the tie and Casas was called into action in the 82nd minute, with Kristic’s shot from the edge of the box just tipped away.

Near the end, a scramble in the box allowed Danial Tan to pounce onto the loose ball but his fierce shot only managed to rattle the bar. 

The loss meant Balestier would end without any silverware of sorts and coach Marko Kraljevic lamented what has finished "a disappointing season".

“Congrats to Ceres for finishing third, at 1-0 we defended well and we played against a good tea,” Kraljevic added.

“I already told them at half-time it was hard for us, we needed to score the second goal.

“It was a big mistake not being able to get the second goal, it was very tough to defend against this team. We could have equalised, but we were second best. 

“I am very disappointed, I think we should do better.”

Photos: S.League