The Garena Young Lions were edged 1-0 in Sunday night’s Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League game against Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh Stadium. A draw would have been a fairer result on the balance of play, but a solitary second-half goal from the Tigers’ Myanmar import Aung Kyaw Naing.
Young Lions goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar had to be alert early on, parrying Kyaw Zayar Win’s long-range free kick in the seventh minute.
The developmental side could have drawn first blood on 14 minutes though, with Hami Syahin’s volley from just outside the box flying inches off-target.
Balestier were then awarded a penalty nine minutes later when full-back Fadli Kamis was brought down from a set play, but Kyaw Naing saw his spot-kick turned around the post by Fashah.
Fashah then saved another Zayar Win free kick, before Kyaw Naing then headed wide under pressure from his compatriot’s left-wing cross.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 53rd minute when Balestier’s half-time substitute Hanafi Akbar lofted a pass to Hazzuwan Halim on the right wing, who cut the ball back for Kyaw Naing to convert from point-blank range.
The match was still very much in the balance, however, and the Young Lions almost equalised in injury time when midfielder Ammirul Emmran rose the highest to meet a right-wing cross. However, Balestier custodian Zaiful Nizam managed to tip the goal-bound effort away at full stretch.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach V. Selvaraj said after the match that while his charges could have done much better in the first half, he was pleased with their second-half performance as they made better decisions and were better on the ball.
“After the goal, Balestier started to defend and it was hard to beat their block. I feel that luck’s not on our side; the boys deserved at least one goal tonight. On the bright side, we’re now creating more chances than our first game.”
Garena Young Lions: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin (C), Ammirul Emmran, Taufik Suparno, Syahrul Sazali (Faizal Roslan 83’), Hami Syahin (Haiqal Pashia 68’), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Jordan Chan (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 60’), Rusyaidi Salime, Muhelmy Suhaimi