Kraljevic sees red with striker's red card
Controversy as Tigers' striker gets red card
BALESTIER KHALSA 1
(Miroslav Kristic 39)
HOME UNITED 1
(Azhar Sairudin 64)
A referee's whistle turned Balestier Khalsa head coach Marko Kraljevic into the Hulk at the Toa Payoh Stadium last night.
With his side leading Home United 1-0 in their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League match, the German-born Croat thought his side were about to double their advantage when attacking midfielder Tarik Cmajcanin burst through on goal, one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the 62nd minute.
But referee G Letchman blew his whistle just before Cmajcanin could pull the trigger.
The man in the middle stopped play because the fourth official, Nathan Chan, had communicated to him that a foul had been committed.
With Kraljevic going nuts on the touchline, complaining about his side's missed opportunity, Letchman consulted Chan before walking back onto the pitch and flashing a red card at a bemused Balestier striker, Miroslav Kristic.
Kristic, who had put Balestier ahead with a 39th-minute header, was adjudged by Chan to have elbowed Home defender Abdil Qaiyyim before playing the pass to set Cmajcanin through on goal.
The two were tussling before Kristic laid on the pass, with Abdil left in a heap clutching his face, but Kraljevic was livid.
"You saw it," he told The New Paper after the match, which ended 1-1.
"I don't know what to say.
"We had the ball, my guy was one-on-one, then the referee blows the whistle, gives a red card to another one of my players."
Worse was to come for Kraljevic and Balestier.
When play resumed following Kristic's sending-off, Home immediately equalised, with Azhar Sairudin sweeping the ball home from close range.
Later, when Balestier were not awarded a free-kick for a rough challenge on Cmajcanin, Kraljevic bellowed at Chan: "Oh, now you cannot see?"
And when Home midfielder Yasir Hanapi accidentally knocked Letchman onto his backside in the 89th minute, the home side's fans broke out in cheers and ironic applause.
Chan was involved in another refereeing controversy earlier this season when, as a fourth official, he allowed Laos Police to make five substitutions in their 2-1 RHB Singapore Cup preliminary-round defeat by Geylang International.
Home coach Philippe Aw suggested the right decision was made by the officials to send Kristic off, and said: "I was there, I could see clearly the elbow.
"I'm glad the fourth official did something.
"The referees did their job, good for us."
Hougang United v Warriors FC (Hougang Stadium, 7.30pm)
Young Lions win 'mini Causeway Derby'
HARIMAU MUDA 2
YOUNG LIONS 3
The Courts Young Lions moved off the bottom of the S.League table after beating their Malaysian counterparts Harimau Muda 3-2 at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
Adam Swandi pounced on Harimau Muda goalkeeper Farhan Abu Bakar's mistake to open the scoring after six minutes, before Amy Recha doubled the Singaporean side's advantage in the 36th minute from the penalty spot.
Harimau's Arif Anwar pulled a goal back in the 68th minute, but Amy sealed the win with his second on the night, six minutes before the end.
Arif then converted a penalty in injury time, but it proved to be mere consolation.
The result represents a marked improvement for the Young Lions, who under interim coach Juergen Raab have won two and drawn two of their five S.League matches since the Singapore U-23 side's poor SEA Games campaign, which most of the squad were a part of.