Gombak coach Balagumaran: 'Things didn't start well today'

Bulls coach K. Balagumaran revealed a day of emotions for his side, after a lacklustre performance in a goal-less draw against Hougang.
"Our goalkeeper Zaiful (Nizam)'s grandfather passed away this morning. He was not supposed to start because of that, but he told me he still wanted to play. I was emotionally taken aback. He cried just before the match, [and] some of the players even asked him to not to play. Thus psychologically-wise, the emotions among the players was not very good before the match.

"I could feel it from the way we started the match; the instructions given were not carried out and we were
going through the motions even when we tried to rectify," Balagumaran said.

He also pointed out that it was not easy to pysch the players in such situations, and that shouting at them would not have been helpful at all.

"Sometimes, fans cannot see their [players] personal problems. As a player, I've been through this type of situation before, thus I know how they felt," he elaborated.

Meanwhile, his counterpart Nenad Bacina reflected on a fourth consecutive league draw, which extended their unbeaten run in the second half of the season.

"A friend told me you seldom play draws but now we have four in a row! This is seven matches unbeaten since we lost six in a row in the first round," he exclaimed.

"I'm very happy with our performance. We controlled the game, had more hunger and desire to score.
Especially after we went down to 10 men, we played a matured game  - controlling [the] passing while penetrating the flanks, whereas Gombak played the long ball and did not creat much scoring opportunities," Bacina added.

The Croatian coach also revealed that playmaker Ante Barac, who missed the game due to a calf injury sustained on Saturday's training session, was not likely to be back for their next game, which is against Albirex Niigata four days later.