Balestier rue poor finishing
Balestier hit by a Hougang heart-breaker soon after missing their chances
|HOUGANG UNITED||BALESTIER KHALSA|
|(Nurhilmi Jasni 39)|
They had their chances to score, but profligate finishing cost Balestier Khalsa dearly at the Hougang Stadium last night.
In the end, the Tigers were left to lick their wounds, as they lost 1-0 to Hougang United instead.
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic was naturally disappointed after the game.
Said the Croat: "If, if and if.
"It doesn't count. It counts only when (the ball) goes into the net. We worked very hard, but we never made it.
"The boys were scared.
"I told them, 'if you're scared, don't play soccer - play chess instead'."
The Tigers' first clear chance came in the 23rd minute, when Balestier midfielder Raihan Rahman sent a curving free-kick into the box, but teammate Ashrul Syafeeq's header sailed way off-target.
In the 34th minute, Balestier winger Hazzuwan Halim was next to be handed a goal-scoring opportunity.
While Hougang custodian Khairulhin Khalid was out of position, Balestier's Hanafi Akbar sent a great through-ball to Hazzuwan, who was right in front of goal.
But Hazzuwan tripped over the ball, giving the goalkeeper ample time to nullify the danger.
Just five minutes later, Hougang captain and midfielder Nurhilmi Jasni headed home the heart-breaker.
The boys were scared. I told them, ‘if you’re scared, don’t play soccer — play chess instead’.Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic
Although Balestier had the early chances, Hougang felt they had the game in the bag from the get-go.
Hougang coach Philippe Aw felt they had restricted the Tigers to just one clear chance - the Raihan free-kick.
He said: "Other than that, I think they didn't trouble us.
"I thought we controlled the game well, but what were lacking were our final runs, which were not good enough."
After Hougang's goal, it all went downhill for the Tigers.
They sorely lacked a recognised striker and struggled to impose themselves on the game, which was disrupted for 36 minutes in the second half due to lightning risk.
Added Kraljevic: "We were struggling up front and it was very difficult. But we worked hard and that is a positive."