Balestier Khalsa defender Fadli Kamis has backed his side to improve at Toa Payoh Stadium this Saturday in the second leg of their Singapore Cup quarterfinal tie after slamming Geylang International’s pitch.
There is all to play for still, with the aggregate score level at 0-0 despite Balestier playing much of the first leg with only ten men after Noor Akid Nordin received his marching orders.
And Fadli believed his side can step up a notch back at familiar grounds and get the result necessary for them to advance.
The Tigers have always relished playing at home and even became the first side to prevent Albirex Niigata FC (S) from claiming three full points this season when they hosted the White Swans in July.
“Honestly this pitch (at Bedok Stadium) is rubbish, you can’t even pass the ball properly,” Fadli said.
“In Toa Payoh Stadium, it might be better (for us). We know what we must do and that is to stay focused and follow our coach instructions.
Having carved out a name as a goal-scoring defender for himself over the last few years, Fadli can expect Geylang to be wary of him.
However, Fadli insisted he was not interested in adding to his four-goal tally, with his ultimate aim being Balestier’s advancement.
“Scoring goals is one thing, but helping the team win and going through to the next round is another thing,” he said.
“Football is not an individual-esque sport so whoever scores is good for the team, in any case individual glory is not for me.”
While Raihan Rahman and Sharin Majid are long-term absentees, Balestier will be hopingVedran Mesec is fit enough to play his second game since returning from injury. The Tigers will also miss Noor Akid after his suspension.
Geylang will largely retain the same squad from Wednesday’s game. Goalkeeper Zainol Gulam returned from injury and should continue to stand between the sticks. Umar Akhbar Ramle, Fumiya Kogure, Ryson Yap, Shawal Anuar remain out.
29/08/18: Geylang 0-0 Balestier – Singapore Cup
01/08/18: Geylang 1-0 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
02/06/18: Balestier 1-2 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
14/04/18: Geylang 0-1 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
09/09/17: Geylang 2-0 Balestier – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:
Azhar Sairudin (Geylang International FC)
Robbed of Fumiya Kogure’s services, Geylang will need to rely on veteran Azhar to dictate play. The two-cap Singapore international is capable of stretching defenses with his long-range passing and his timely runs into box could prove lethal.
Keegan Linderboom (Balestier Khalsa FC)
The frontman is the perfect foil for Hazzuwan Halim and he will look to continue doing so in the return leg. Keegan has also accounted for five goals for the Tigers.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:
Geylang International Forward Azhar Sairudin: “We were just unfortunate not to get a goal to bring to Toa Payoh. With the hard work the boys are putting in the past few weeks, we will have our chances.’
“But we also have to give credit to Balestier, they are a good side, so it’s not going to be a walk in the park. They did their part, they made us work for it so hopefully in the second leg it will be a good game on that night.
Balestier Khalsa Defender Fadli Kamis: “The next game, it’s 11 vs 11, so I think our chances are good and I hope we can win. We are taking it one game at a time and we must focus on the second leg and hopefully get the win.”