Young Lions And Balestier Play Out Goalless Draw
Written by: Ryan Low
Garena Young Lions and Balestier Khalsa settled for a point each after a 0-0 draw in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
Despite having a numerical advantage for the last half-hour, the Young Lions could not capitalise and missed out on an opportunity to get a first win of the season.
Richard Tardy’s charges settled in the better of the two sides and could have opened the scoring after just five minutes.
However, Faizal Roslan’s header from Yeo Hai Ngee’s inswinging corner was pushed to safety by Balestier custodian Zaiful Nizam.
They carved out another good opening eight minutes later, but Yeo’s deflected shot came off the left-hand post before bouncing to safety.
Balestier gradually got to grips with the game and went close in the 20th minute, with Myanmarese winger Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit blasting over from just inside the area after being teed up by compatriot Kyaw Zayar Win’s backheel.
Hanafi Akbar then fired just wide of the left-hand post a minute later as the Tigers squandered yet another opportunity.
The chances dried up till the final minute of the first half when Hanafi just failed to connect with Kyaw Chit’s teasing cross into the six-yard box.
The home side returned for the second half strongly, with substitute Jordan Chan prodding just over after being set up by Zulqarnaen Suzliman on 50 minutes.
The Young Lions’ chances of winning increased when Balestier went down to 10 men just after the hour mark, with Tajeli Salamat sent off for a second bookable offence.
They went the closest on 69 minutes, with main forward Ikhsan Fandi somehow firing wide of the left-hand post from eight yards out after being found by a Zulqarnaen cut-back.
Eight minutes later, Hami Syahin fired straight at Zaiful from the edge of the box after a good solo run.
Illyas Lee - captaining the Young Lions in the absence of the suspended Shahrin Saberin - could have grabbed a late winner three minutes before the end, but nodded over from Hami’s free kick.
Eventually both sides had to share the spoils, with Balestier ending their six-match losing run in the league to stay seventh with seven points from 12 games.
Meanwhile Young Lions’ wait for a first win of the season goes on, as they remain in ninth with two points from 11 outings.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Richard Tardy: “The positive is that we take a second point of the season and we gave opportunities for players who usually do not play too much. We tried our best to push Balestier in their half and you can see they played more long balls.
“But I’m disappointed with the quality of the set-pieces and how many passes we misplaced. I asked them to play on the sides, find some one-twos and finish off the crosses, but we didn’t arrive in the box to create some occasions. Now we must continue to work on the technicals in training before the SEA Games.”
Balestier Khalsa Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “It’s definitely two points dropped for us. We were looking to win this game and move up the table, but we found it difficult to make chances in this game and that’s worrying.
“Then we went down to 10 men for the last half hour and a draw is probably a fair result. Now we’re a bit behind the rest, but it’s still a long season and anything can happen. There’s still 36 more points (on offer) and we can still catch up with Geylang (International) and Hougang (United).”
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Illyas Lee (C), Faizal Roslan, Syahrul Sazali, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Hami Syahin, Muhelmy Suhaimi, Yeo Hai Ngee (Taufik Suparno 63’), Ryan Syaffiq (Jordan Chan 46’), Ikhsan Fandi
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Tajeli Selamat, Hanafi Salleh, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Ahmad Syahir, Shah Hirul (Aung Kyaw Naing 70’), Huzaifah Aziz, Kyaw Zayar Win (Fadli Kamis 63’), Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit, Jonathan Tan (Hazzuwan Halim 46’), Hanafi Akbar