BY MARLON CHEN
The Tigers were outplayed at the Jalan Besar Stadium, with Kaya dominating from start to end.
Alfred Osei and Kenshiro Daniels scored in the first half to give Kaya a comfortable lead, before Louis Clark wrapped up the win in the second half.
Interestingly, it was Balestier who crafted the first real chance of the game in the ninth minute.
Both Syafiq Zainal and Fazli Ayob combined well to release Miroslav Kristic into the area, but the forward’s attempt was well saved by Kaya goalkeeper Matthew Acton.
The Tigers were made to pay for that miss minutes later, with Osei breaking the deadlock for the visitors through a powerful header off Daniels’ corner in the 15th minute.
It could have been 2-0 almost immediately from the restart, but Balestier custodian Zaiful Nizam reacted quickly to prevent Antonio Ugarte’s effort after Jovin Bedic set him up nicely.
There was nothing Zaiful could have done nine minutes later to stop Daniels however, who found the bottom corner after latching onto Bedic’s through pass.
Kaya continued pressing for the rest of the half, but could count themselves unlucky not to extend their lead further with some last-ditched defending from the hosts.
Marko Kraljevic responded at half time by throwing on Jamil Ali in place of the ineffective Gary Loo, and it worked as Balestier attacked with more intent.
However, they failed to apply the finishing touch, with a number of Zulkiffli Hassim threatening cross left to waste with no orange shirts attacking it.
Bedic wasted a decent opportunity to put the game beyond doubt at the half-hour mark, after he fired Clark’s cross way over, before Jose Porteria forced a fine stop from Zaiful minutes later.
Balestier were awarded a penalty in the 63rd minute after Kaya centre back Masnari Omura was fouled Kristic inside the area. The striker picked himself up to take the spot-kick, only to produce a tame effort that was palmed out by Acton.
From the resulting corner, Zulkiffli picked out Kristic at the far post, but the Croatian headed awfully wide.
A brilliant run from Clark saw him skipping past Ahmad Syahir and Zulkiffli down the right before cutting it back for Porteria, but the midfielder slotted it wide instead.
But just a minute later, Kaya sealed the victory with a brilliant goal from Clark. The substitute got behind the Balestier defence and took down a ball over the top with a fantastic touch, before slotting it emphatically past Zaiful for his team’s third of the night.
Still, the Tigers pushed for a consolation with Lotinac drawing a superb save from Acton with header from point-blank off a lovely Jamil Ali cross.
But it was not meant to be, as Kaya held on for a crucial victory, as the Tigers dropped to third spot in Group F.