Monday, February 28, 2011

Blunt Attack Means 2 Points drop for Etoile FC

Etoile FC played out to a 0-0 draw at the neutral venue Jalan Besar Stadium after some resolute defending from the 'visitors' of the game, in the 1st 'live' S-League game of the season. Though the result may not be as glamarous as compared to a winning one, Arena and Etoile fans can draw out many positives in this game - as if it is a preview of what the current Etoile squad is capable of doing.

With Arena opting to start Moulin and Justin as the striking pair - as what this blog had suggested the club should adopt to blend Justin into the Singapore game - having Lefranc serving a one-match suspension, the team line-up was largely untouched. The Tigers were also using the same formation and player that had served them so well in the 1-1 draw with Home United - placing Vitor Borges as the lone striker trying to sneak past the Stars' defence in counter-attacks.

The Tigers dominated early preceedings and the Stars' defence were trying to contain Vikraman and Borges with their speed and holding of the ball. However, as the game wears on, Etoile FC started to find their footing, and in particular Julian Durant, who forced a point-blank save from Joey Sim after ghosting 2 defenders including Cunningham to find himself one-on-one with the Tigers' custodian. However, Sim made himself big on that occasion and though Durant managed to shot on target, so did Sim, who managed to go the same direction with the ball.

Durant then found himself clear once again moments later as a quick one-two with Moulin saw him spring the Tigers' offside trap and once again, nerves got the better of the attacking midfielder and he shot the ball direct to Joey.

Sensing the attacking impetus of the 'home' team, the Tigers did their best to disrupt the momentum of the usual 'pass and push' play that Etoile had adopted since its inception into the S-League with tackles flying fast and furious. At times, Cunningham could just pump the ball aimlessly away from the goalposts and hope that it would reach the feets of one of his team mates. Despite the pressure, Vitor Borges still found himself with the occasion half-chance and just like Durant, could only scoff the shot wide.

Striker Johnathan Justin then had to limped off the field after a tackle caught his ankles. The tall striker was limping to the bench, admist jeers from the Tigers' fans, and was seemingly disappointed with another miserable outing on a night where he was supposed to shine in front of a 'live' crowd. The introduction of Stan Fougeroud then started to brighten things up for the Stars.

However, as the game reached the last 5 minutes of it's lifespan, the Tigers seemed to be satisfied with a 0-0 result and despite the Stars' trying their best to attack the goal of the Tigers, Cunningham was present to pump the ball out for a throw in or to the Etoile half. As Abbas Daud blew the whistle for full time, the shout and joy from Tigers' captain was a sure sign that the Tigers' plan was to garner a draw from the game.

Post-game, Moulin's point blank header in the second half, after good work from substitute Serge Souchon from the left flank, was arguably the only real chance that the Stars had - notwithstanding Durant's 3 misses, including 2 point-blank shot. The Stars certainly have to sharpen their attack if they look to win against a Bull, wounded 3-0 by the Protectors at Jurong West Stadium on 1st March 2011.

While the team lament 2 points drop, a 2nd successive clean sheet is good reward for the defence who had done very well to deal with the threat that Vitor Borges posed througout the game. Another stout defending performance would definitely result in more clean sheets for the team.

Allez Etoile!

No comments:

Post a Comment