Balestier confident of must-win match with New Radiant
Coach Kraljevic confident even without two key attackers
BALESTIER KHALSA v NEW RADIANT
(Tonight, 7.20pm, Singtel TV Ch 116 & StarHub TV Ch 210)
He will be without the services of two of his most important players but Balestier Khalsa coach, Marko Kraljevic, was surprisingly upbeat yesterday.
The Tigers take on Maldives outfit New Radiant in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Group F clash tonight at the Jalan Besar Stadium and Kraljevic is confident his men can win despite the absence of his foreign stars.
The German-Croat will have to do without his first-choice frontline of Miroslav Kristic and Robert Pericic but, speaking at the pre-match press conference at Hotel Royal yesterday, the 50-year-old said: "I know that we will have only one foreigner (Emir Lotinac) to play tomorrow, but that is not an excuse.
"We still have players like Syafiq (Zainal), Fadil (Noh) and Jamil (Ali) and we will need them and our other attacking players to give us more creativity in the final third.
"We will give our best and we will focus on attack and focus on winning the game."
Kristic, who broke his Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League scoring duck last Thursday in a 2-0 win over the Garena Young Lions, will miss out after having picked up two yellow cards.
Pericic is still undergoing rehabilitation from a knee injury.
Kraljevic backed his local players to fill in and deliver victory.
The top two qualify for the knockout stage of the competition - Round of 16 - and the Tigers are currently third in Group F, five points behind leaders Kaya FC of the Philippines and three behind Hong Kong's Kitchee, in second.
The Singapore club must win their penultimate game tonight to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the next round.
Pull it off and they will set up a huge clash with Kitchee FC in Hong Kong on May 10.
Kraljevic insisted yesterday that his players are looking forward to the challenge.
"The morale has returned after our first win of the season against the Young Lions last week, everyone is happy and looking forward to the next game," he said.
"It's very clear-cut for us, we need to win our next two games to progress to the second round.
"We are still in control of our future and that's good.
"Playing at home and on the artificial pitch will also give us a slight edge tomorrow."