Park Kang Jin found the back of the net twice as the visitors romped to victory in the first S.League match at Hougang Stadium this season
|FROM HOUGANG STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Balestier Khalsa picked up their fourth win of the season with a 3-1 win over Hougang United on Tuesday night, which leaves the north-eastern club second-last in the S.League table.
Hougang Stadium opened its doors for the first time this season for the opening match of the game week, with both teams were eager to collect maximum points after coming off defeats in their last competitive outings.
Balestier defender Jaslee Hatta’s suspension saw skipper Tengku Mushadad play in central defence, where he partnered Obadin Aikhena. Meanwhile, the home side saw Johana Johari take charge of his first game as caretaker coach.
The game started brightly for both sides. Hougang had a chance from a freekick in the sixth minute, and Azhar Sairuddin’s curling and dipping effort was pushed out for a corner by Zaiful Nizam.
It was the visiting side who eventually broke the deadlock in the 20th minute through Park Kang Jin.
Jung Hee Bong got his head onto a Zaiful goal-kick in the middle of the park, with Qiu Li on hand to get onto the ball before taking a few seconds on it. The Singapore striker than laid it off into the path of Park, and the Korean's long shot hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing into the net.
Balestier continued to dominate proceedings till the half time whistle, although Hougang had a few chances of their own to boast.
The Tigers started the second half brightly, doubling their lead just two minutes after the restart.
Tengku's freekick from the right was met by Obadin, who powered his header into the net.
Balestier striker Kim Minho was forcibly replaced in the 58th minute, when he was stretchered off following a challenge, as flashes of lightning began to light up the sky.
Five minutes later, Hougang had a chance to get a goal back but Jerome Baker failed to connect with Nurhilmi Jasni’s cross from the right.
The misery for the Cheetahs piled on in the 79th minute, as Park scored his second of the night when he rose high to nod home a corner from Qiu.
Johana’s decision to bring on Liam Shotton paid off as the Briton managed to reduce the deficit when he headed home at the far post in the 81st minute for a consolation strike, which at least brought some cheer to the home fans as they stumbled to a defeat.