Warriors FC 1 Balestier Khalsa 0: Velez strike clinches Charity Shield

Warriors FC rebounded from their mid-week continental setback to claim the Charity Shield after they defeated Balestier Khalsa 1-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday.

Nicolas Velez netted the only goal of the season opener midway into the first half as he broke through on a counter attack to score.

The result sees the defending S.League champions move to joint-top behind Brunei DPMM FC after the latter defeated Harimau Muda 3-1 in the corresponding league match in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Warriors FC came close to breaking the deadlock in the early moments of the match, with Hafiz Rahim and Velez denied by last-ditch tackles from the Balestier defence.

In a game filled with disjointed plays from both sides, the Tigers threatened to go ahead against the run of play in the 26th minute when Poh Yifeng burst through on the left, only for his cross to be held by Warriors custodian Neezam Aziz.

Argentine striker Velez showed how it was done two minutes later when he galloped down the left and took on the Balestier defence before slotting the ball past an onrushing Zaiful Nizam and into the net.

The Toa Payoh-based outfit came agonisingly close in the final moments before the break when Miroslav Kristic hit the post with a shot from the inside right of the box, but it was not to be.

Miroslav Pejic then came close to doubling the advantage in the 68th minute when his diving header off a cross from Velez drew a point-blank from Zaiful.

The 27-year-old Tigers skipper kept his team in the match, denying Pejic in a one-on-one in the 84th minute, then once again in injury time.

Unfortunately, his Balestier colleagues were unable to produce anything significant at the other end as Warriors FC lifted the Charity Shield.

Photos: Weixiang Lim