For the second game in a row, Hougang United will be playing against an under strength opposition when they face off against Balestier Khalsa at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday. While Warriors were missing Nicholas Velez through injury and Marin Vidosevic though an early red card in their loss to the Cheetahs on Tuesday night, the Tigers could be missing up to five of their regular starters, including three of their foreign players.
Forward Robert Pericic, wide midfielder Fadhil Noh, and left back Ho Wai Loon have all been injured since their win over the other Tigers – the younger, Malaysian variety – and the trio sat out Balestier’s subsequent draws against the Young Lions and Home United. As if the injury crisis was not enough of a headache for coach Marko Kraljević, their last match saw centreback Igor Cerina receiving his fourth yellow card of the season while Miroslav Kristic received a straight red card. Both players will consequently be suspended for Friday’s game.
Kristic will be particularly missed by his side as their top scorer with 15 goals in all domestic competition – 9 in the league, 6 in the league cup. Only Brunei DPMM’s Rafael Ramazotti has scored more with 16 goals. Balestier Khalsa could be forgiven for remaining confident though. After all, they have been on a good run with just one loss in their last nine games, one of which was a 1:0 win over Albirex Niigata (S) in the absence of Kristic, who was suspended for that game after accumulating four yellow cards.
The Cheetahs and Tigers have already faced each twice this year with both games ending in a narrow win for the larger cats in the pantherinae subfamily. Vuk Sotirovic has yet to play against Balestier Khalsa though since joining Hougang United in the mid-season transfer window. Since recovering from an injury that saw him missed the League Cup tie between the two sides, the Serbian striker has scored three goals in two games and will undoubtedly be looking for more as he face his compatriots Emir Lotinac and Tarik Cmajcanin.
Balestier Khalsa F.C. vs Hougang United F.C.
2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League
7th August 2015, Friday
7:30 pm, Jalan Besar Stadium