By Les Tan/Red Sports
Young Lion Khairul Nizam (in red) challenges Seth Galloway for the ball in the first half. (Photo 1 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Jalan Besar Stadium, Monday, April 13, 2009 – The Young Lions beat a poor Balestier Khalsa side 2-0 to register their second win of the 2009 S.League football campaign.
Two goals either side of half-time by Irwan Shah and new striker Yang Mu were enough to get the Young Lions up to 9th on the 12-team table.
It was also the first goal for the China-born Yang Mu who was drafted into the side by coach Terry Pathmanathan to help a team with the worst scoring record in the league before the game tonight.
In the 33rd minute, an attempted shot by Young Lion Eugene Luo took Mahmod Hashim by surprise and the Balestier Khalsa defender let the ball through his legs. The shot turned out to be the perfect pass for Young Lion defender Irwan Shah coming in on the far side and he blasted the ball home past an exposed Hafez Mawasi for a 1-0 lead.
Ram Shanker of Balestier Khalsa then did well to create space for himself to get a shot off at goal but his shot went just wide, leaving his side trailing 0-1 at the half-time break.
In the second half, another defensive mistake in the 64th minute cost Balestier Khalsa a second goal. Mahmod Hashim was again caught with the ball when a quick clearance was called for.
With the Balestier keeper off his line and the goal gaping, Young Lion Khairul Nizam attempted a shot at goal. His scuffed shot turned out to be an excellent pass for Yang Mu lurking in the penalty box and he stabbed it home.
By the 70th minute, the Young Lions were looking ragged and Balestier Khalsa started to come into the game, especially in the last ten minutes.
Muhammad Izzuan should have scored at least a consolation for Balestier Khalsa when he hit the post in time added on when teammate Syaqir Sulaiman found him with all the time and space he needed in the box.
Coach Terry Pathmanathan was pleased with the performance.
“Today we created quite a few chances. They kept the ball well and had some shots at goal. Previously we hardly took shots at goal and gave away the ball in the final third.”
Chinese import Yang Mu got his first goal for the Young Lions, a point coach Terry was glad to highlight.
“I’m happy for Yang Mu. He’s come under quite a bit of pressure. I hope he grows from there.”
“Obviously, in midfield, we miss the bite of Isa (Halim). There is no hiding. Isa is a huge advantage to the team with his performance. He is probably any coach’s player.”
“Fabian (Kwok) stepped in (for Isa) quite well. Technically he did well. But I think he lacks that aggression. First time Fabian started and so he did well for himself.”
The victory though, came at price. Hafiz Abu Sujad dislocated his shoulder and had to be hospitalised while goal scorer Irwan Shah twisted his ankle.
The Young Lions beat Home United 1-0 for their only other victory and this is the first time in eight S.League games where they’ve scored two goals in a game. As a sign of their scoring weakness upfront, captain and central defender Aikhena Obadina remains the team’s top scorer with three goals.
Young Lions Starting Lineup
Jasper Chan (GK)
Rahim As’ari (76′ Afiz Yunos)
Faritz Abdul Hameed
Irwan Shah (46′ Hamqaamal Shah)
Hafiz Abu Sujad (13′ Arif Aiman)
Irwan Shah scored the first goal for the Young Lions in the first half. (Photo 2 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Irwan gets a joyful hug from Khairul Nizam (face to camera) after scoring the opening goal. (Photo 3 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Yang Mu takes on Mahmod of Balestier. (Photo 4 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Young Lion Rahim As’ari blasts a free kick goalwards while Balestier captain Anantha Rajan jumps in the defensive wall. (Photo 5 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Young Lion Eugene Luo gets tackled. (Photo 6 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Young Lion keeper Jasper Chan deals with a cross under the challenge of Bryan Soane. (Photo 7 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Yang Mu on a fast counter attack in his third game for the Young Lions. He eventually scored the second goal of the night. (Photo 8 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Syaqir Sulaiman (left) challenges Irwan Shah for the ball. (Photo 9 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Seth Galloway of Balestier clears with a header. (Photo 10 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Bryan Soane goes on the attack for Balestier. (Photo 11 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
Syaqir Sulaiman takes aim but eventually misses the target. (Photo 12 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
Young Lions goal keeper Jasper Chan gathers safely before Faizal Amir can get to the ball. (Photo 13 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
A Balestier player tackles Young Lion Yang Mu. (Photo 14 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
Anantha Rajan of Balestier passes the ball on before Arif Aiman can get to it. (Photo 15 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)