Garena Young Lions settled for a point against Balestier Khalsa FC after a 0-0 draw in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
Richard Tardy’s charges settled in better, and could have opened the scoring after just five minutes.
However, Faizal Roslan’s header from Yeo Hai Ngee’s inswinging corner was pushed away by Balestier custodian Zaiful Nizam.
They carved out another good opening eight minutes later, but Yeo’s deflected shot came off the left-hand post before bouncing to safety.
Balestier went close in the 20th minute, with Burmese winger Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit blasting over from just inside the area after being teed up by compatriot Kyaw Zayar Win’s backheel.
Hanafi Akbar then fired just wide of the post a minute later as the Tigers squandered another opportunity.
Clear-cut chances then dried up till the final minute of the first half, when Hanafi just failed to connect with Kyaw Chit’s teasing cross into the six-yard box.
The home side returned strongly in the second half, with substitute Jordan Chan prodding just over after being set up by Zulqarnaen Suzliman on 50 minutes.
The Young Lions’ chances of winning increased when Balestier went down to 10 men just after the hour mark, with Tajeli Salamat being sent off for a second bookable offence.
They went the closest on 69 minutes, with main forward Ikhsan Fandi firing wide of the post from close range after being found by a Zulqarnaen cut-back.
Eight minutes later, Hami Syahin fired straight at Zaiful from the edge of the box after a good solo run.
Illyas Lee – captaining the Young Lions in the absence of the suspended Shahrin Saberin – could have grabbed a late winner three minutes before the end, but nodded over from Hami’s free kick.
The two sides settled for a draw eventually, with the Young Lions’ earning their second point of the season.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Richard Tardy said: “The positive is that we take our second point of the season, and we gave opportunities for players who usually do not play too much. We tried our best to push Balestier in their half and you can see they played more long balls.
“But I’m disappointed with the quality of the set-pieces and how many passes we misplaced. I asked them to play on the sides, find some one-twos and finish off the crosses, but we didn’t arrive in the box to create some [opportunities]. Now we must continue to work on the technical [matters] in training before the SEA Games.”
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Illyas Lee (C), Faizal Roslan, Syahrul Sazali, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Hami Syahin, Muhelmy Suhaimi, Yeo Hai Ngee (Taufik Suparno 63’), Ryan Syaffiq (Jordan Chan 46’), Ikhsan Fandi