Singapore Football

Young Lions mauled by Tigers

COURTS YOUNG LIONS 0

BALESTIER KHALSA 4

(Goran Ljubojevic 7-pen, Kim Min Ho 13, Poh Yifeng 32, Park Kang Jin 69)

Much was made of their one-month training stint in Turkey earlier this year, with national coach Bernd Stange calling it some of the "best football" he has seen from the Courts Young Lions.

But there was no sign of that from Aide Iskandar's charges last night, turning in a gormless display as they fell 4-0 to Balestier Khalsa in their opening match of the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season.

Led by the sublime Park Kang Jin, Balestier ripped the Young Lions apart from the first whistle, scoring twice in the first 13 minutes through a Goran Ljubojevic penalty (7th) and a crisp Kim Min Ho finish (13th).

Poh Yifeng scored with a well-taken 32nd-minute volley, before Park capped his sparkling performance with a sweetly-struck 69th-minute free-kick.

"We played good football in Turkey, but I think this loss was down to nerves. This is a wake-up call, back to reality," said Aide, who had to do without the unfit Sahil Suhaimi and the suspended Jordan Webb.

"I decided to start with two 18-year-olds in midfield (Ammirul Emmran and Amirul Adil) and they gave too much respect to Balestier - I take the blame for the defeat.

"These are not full-time professionals, they are in school and National Service. We cannot expect them to perform at the highest level all the time."

- SHAMIR OSMAN