A Battle For Pride
Garena Young Lions vs Balestier Khalsa
(20 September, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Rashid Sulaiman
Garena Young Lions head coach Vincent Subramaniam is confident that his players are able to match Balestier Khalsa when the two meet in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League tie at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night.
Although the Young Lions lost all three S.League matches since Subramaniam took over from Richard Tardy after the Southeast Asian Games, the developmental side have shown improvement in their displays.
Subramaniam’s first match saw the Young Lions giving league’s leaders Albirex Niigata (S) a tough time as the latter could only come away with a 1-0 win.
While fatigue saw them lose 4-0 against Tampines Rovers, the Young Lions put out a decent showing against Hougang United in their last match but were unfortunate to suffer a 2-1 reverse.
“We lost the game in the first 20 minutes. We did the drills (on defending free kicks), but still conceded in the first minute,” said Subramaniam after their match against Hougang.
“We tried to come back (at two goals down) and scored a goal, which was good to see. In the second half, I made some changes and we came out stronger. We were able to win and keep possession longer, created a couple of chances but didn’t finish,” added the former Singapore national team head coach.
Subramaniam saw positives in those matches and felt that his players will be better prepared to face a physical side like the Tigers. Captain Illyas Lee led the team by example on the field with defender Amirul Adli providing the stability in defence.
“Overall the boys put in a much better effort than the last two games. Normally by 60 to 70 minutes, player will put their hands up and want to be subbed but that attitude is no longer there. They continued playing and fought till the end,” explained the ex-Warriors FC head coach.
“The boys are becoming tougher and stronger, that gives us a lot of encouragement going into the Balestier (Khalsa) game next Wednesday.”
Balestier, currently in eighth position have not had the best of season and their only win of the campaign came in April against Young Lions, with Myanmarese Aung Kyaw Naing scoring the only goal of the match.
Although Balestier have won three of their last five S.League meetings with Young Lions, their last encounter saw the Tigers held to a goalless draw back in June.
For weeks, Tigers head coach Marko Kraljevic has been lamenting on their lack of attacking options and it was no different in their 1-0 loss to Tampines.
“I was happy with the performance of the boys, just that the result didn’t go our way,” said Kraljevic.
“The boys worked very hard from the first whistle to the last, trying to get something. We were a little lucky in the first half but we failed to stop that cross from coming in and we conceded that goal which decided the result of the game.
“I can see that the boys are working hard but we are still missing that quality in the team to convert the chances and put in key passes in the final third,” added the former Tampines and Balestier player.
If Kraljevic’s team are to come away with something from this match, they would need their players be more clinical in front of goal.
Without the presence of a natural forward, they will rely heavily on players such as Kyaw Naing, Hazzuwan Halim and Kyaw Zayar Win to provide the firepower in the final third.
Garena Young Lions - DLLLL
15/09/17 Hougang United 2-1 Garena Young Lions
12/09/17 Garena Young Lions 0-4 Tampines Rovers
08/09/17 Garena Young Lions 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
02/07/17 Geylang International 2-1 Garena Young Lions
28/06/17 Garena Young Lions 0-0 Warriors FC
Balestier Khalsa - DDDLL
17/09/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Tampines Rovers
09/09/17 Geylang International 2-0 Balestier Khalsa
21/08/17 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Brunei DPMM
17/08/17 Balestier Khalsa 2-2 Warriors FC
29/07/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Hougang United
Head to Head (S.League)
22/06/17 Garena Young Lions 0-0 Balestier Khalsa
02/04/17 Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Garena Young Lions
05/08/16 Garena Young Lions 1-3 Balestier Khalsa
21/04/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Garena Young Lions
14/02/16 Garena Young Lions 1-0 Balestier Khalsa