The more physical home side gave their high-flying opponents a shock as they claimed an upset victory at the Toa Payoh Stadium and end a three-game losing streak
Balestier Khalsa pulled off an upset at the Toa Payoh Stadium on Wednesday night after they literally speared through Tanjong Pagar United 2-1.
A Ruhaizad Ismail penalty and a Qiu Li free kick sealed the three points for the home side, with Kamel Ramdani pulling one back from the spot in the last minute as a consolation.
The match started with the home side piling on the pressure and it took the Tigers only four minutes to indicate their desire to score. A freekick from Ruhaizad forced Aurelien Herisson to dive at full-stretch to his right, palming the ball to safety.
The Tigers continued to close out Tanjong Pagar, not allowing the Jaguars any chance whatsoever.
Paul Cunningham, in his first start for Balestier this season, was doing exceptionally well in his new striker role as he took pops at goal as and when he liked. His best opportunity came in the 15th minute when he received a layoff in the penalty box and the New Zealander’s left-foot drive was blocked by Herisson.
The visitors looked meek upfront and needed a freekick to get their first real chance on goal, as Monzef Zerka’s right-foot cracker saw Zakariah Nerani punch the ball out in the 42nd minute.
The closing minutes of the first half saw the Jaguars threaten the Balestier defence with some attacking movements, but a dogged defence led by Jaslee Hatta kept them out.
In the second period, Darren Stewart’s men went in red tooth and claw with the challenges, as several players needed to get treatment for nasty gashes on their heads and Anthony Aymard had to be taken to a hospital for a concussion.
As the game got more intense, Herisson was sent of for a bad challenge on Cunningham in the penalty box at the 52nd-minute mark.
From the resulting penalty, Ruhaizad made no mistake to find the net.
The Jaguars had the wind knocked out of their sails just four minutes later after substitute Qiu blasted a low freekick from 35 yards that skidded past everyone and into the net.
With the one-man advantage, Balestier took control of the game and forced the Jaguars to chase the ball, with substitute goalkeeper Shamsudin Hashim on the ball as he kept out a barrage of shots from the uplifted home side.
Patrick Vallee’s men only managed to score in the last minute from the spot as Randani converted, but that was not enough to prevent defeat asBalestier resorted to holding the ball at the corner flag with seconds left to play to grab the 2-1 win.