226455539_4792437930770664_7375132209627301398_n(Lion City Sailors - Photo by Football Association of Singapore)


By Sadat Osman


Balestier Khalsa FC (BKFC) had the right gameplan going into this ‘David and Goliath’ clash against the Lion City Sailors (LCS) on Sunday (8 Aug). Over at the Toa Payoh Stadium, both clubs fought out a deserved 1-1 draw in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) Round 14 tie.


Winless in their last 8 games, the BK Tigers surprisingly decided to start without star forward Sime Zuzul in their first 11 — on top of 3 other changes to their side. And when it looked like head coach Marko Kraljević made the wrong call, the home side thwarted the Sailors’ efforts left, right and centre.


Without their talisman Hariss Harun in their starting lineup, Coach Kim Do-hoon’s forces were still formidable.  They pressed forward for majority of the first half, mainly via Gabriel Quak and Saifullah Akbar who had the pace to cause problems upfront. With BKFC depending on the counterattack, it was the visitors who had the first real chance of the game, coming only in the 42nd minute.

Stipe Plazibat started the ball rolling with a neat long pass to Diego Lopes from the left-hand side of the pitch. The Brazilian then nodded on to Quak who was in a dangerous position in the six-yard box. The No.22 controlled the ball well, despite being surrounded by defenders to shoot, but Zaiful Nizam rushed off his line to clear the danger.


With only 1 shot on target each for either side, it was much of the same as the second half got underway. However this time, Hariss joined the fray to perhaps handle the pacey Zuzul who came on 10 minutes before the break.

The Croatian didn’t take long to make an impact in the second period. In the 60th minute, Zaiful launched a long ball to find Hoshino’s head in the final third. The Japanese forward managed to find Zuzul in the box, who had to take a couple of touches to control the ball and beat the flailing Hassan Sunny to slot home the opener.

223875277_4792438624103928_6376736808471565707_n(Balestier Khalsa FC - Photo by Football Association of S'pore)



In the scuffle leading to the first goal, Hassan was injured and that saw BKFC take control of the proceedings as they pushed forward a lot more with increased creativity and confidence. The Tigers’ failure to increase their lead only aided the LCS forces to try and fight back to maintain their 9-game undefeated streak. Saifullah along with Faris Ramli, who replaced Quak in the 30th minute, linked up on several occasions to create chances, but to no avail.

226318502_4792438137437310_6723848253418690442_n(Photo by Football Association of Singapore)


The Tigers were evidently fatigued as they sat back to soak the pressure in the dying minutes of the game. Jorge Fellipe was thrown into a striker’s role, and he managed to find the olive branch. Faris’ cross from the right flank found a towering Fellipe, whose header looked to be floating into the net, but Ensar Brunčević got his arm up and was penalised.

226455539_4792437930770664_7375132209627301398_n(Lion City Sailors - Photo by Football Association of Singapore)


With the streak on the line and crucial points at stake, Stipe made no mistake from the resulting spot kick to equalise for the Sailors in the 95th minute. With little stoppage time left to play, the away team piled on the pressure with their one-man advantage. However, the home side held on to earn 1 point.


228347930_4431906363536361_6662100617187727007_n(LCS Keeper Hassan Sunny - Photo by Lion City Sailors FC)


BKFC remained in 7th place with 10 points while LCS sit in second with 28 points — 3 behind league leaders Albirex Niigata FC (S) and with a game in hand. In Round 15, the Tigers will face the Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 14 August, while the Sailors host Tampines Rovers a day later, (15 Aug) at the same venue. Meanwhile, LCS reported after the match that Hassan's condition was stable and is on the road to recovery. 

Sadat Osman had a 10-year career in the publication industry, where he covered several beats including current affairs, food, fishing, music, and football. As the former chief editor at Goal.com and a fan of Newcastle United FC since 1996,  Sadat also had a trial as a goalkeeper at Tanjong Pagar United FC. But today he remains a frequent social player of the game, who fancies Lionel Messi. However, Sadat's playing style is unfortunately similar to that of Titus Bramble!