Monday, May 16, 2011

'Fearful' Tigers Hit by Stars

Etoile FC continues their proud tradition of not conceding a single goal against the Tigers, coming out 4-0 winners in the process.

Exactly one year ago, at the same stadium (Jalan Besar Stadium) with the same referee (Johan Johari), the Stars came out 1-0 winners against Sengkang Punggol FC (now known as Hougang United) through a 76th minute goal from Daniel Nna, and with an opponent of the same calibre, the Stars were widely expected to beat their opponent of the night.

Etoile FC started with a sole striker in Jonathan Toto, while Maxime Belouet was being pushed to a more advanced role as an attacking midfielder for this game. With Hicham and Kevin missing from the game totally, Etoile FC tried to play a wider game by exploiting the flanks throughout the 90 minutes.

Balestier Khalsa FC, in the meanwhile, handed a surprise start to Ahmadullaq Che Omar, while Vitor Borges expectedly started on the bench after complaining of some eye problems. If not, Balestier Khalsa had the ever-reliable Paul Cunningham marshalling the defence.

However, once Johan Johari blew for the start of the whistle, whatever plans that Salim Moin had for the Tigers would had to be re-planned just after 1 minute, when Ahmadullaq brought down Toto in the area. The custodian was lucky not to be carded on that occasion but was powerless to prevent Belouet from putting the Stars a goal up in the 3rd minute, when the penalty was taken.

The Tigers, perhaps missing the attacking acumen of the Vitor, then had some wild shots on goal that never trouble Trilles. However, while they were looking for the elusive goal, gaps were appearing at the back, and soon, Toto doubled the Stars lead after finding himself clear from Anaz Hadee and from a difficult angle, sent a shot across goal and straight into the net to make it 2-0.

The contender for goal of the season came when Theo Raymond took a free kick from the left side of the pitch, approximately 40 metres away from goal. Lobbing the ball towards goal, the ball was seemingly easy for Ahmadullaq to catch when a mis-calculation of the float of the ball resulted in the ball entering the net, and the scoreboard lighting up to a 3-0 scoreline during half-time.

In the second half, the Tigers came out with a more attacking minded mentality, perhaps due to the fact that Vitor Borges was on the field, and also with Captain Paul being in a more advanced position. Vikraman was, unfortunately a passenger for this game, and that meant that the attacking options were limited. It could also be the fact that the Tigers were deflated after being 3-0 down.

But while the attack continues, a sudden counter-attack from a Balestier corner kick saw Toto free from the last defender and clear at goal. With one touch, Toto brought the ball away from the custodian, and with the empty net inviting the ball into it, Toto gladly obliged with his 2nd goal of the night for a 4-0 full time score.

Post match, the team were certainly happy to score 4 goals in a game after managing this feat in the last 2 friendlies (4-0 vs U18s and 4-1 against SCC). And even more happy would be Toto, who seemed to have adapted to the hot conditions in this sunny island. And the sheer fact that the team won this game with ease despite missing many key players like Jonathan Justin, Kevin LeFranc, Hicham Bouchemlal, Serge Souchon (named on bench but did not start), and with the impending arrival of a "BIG STAR", the Star is definitely burning bright for Etoile FC.

Salim Moin also mentioned that his players appeared fearful when they played the Stars on Friday night. With such a great performance,skills as well as technique, many more teams would be fearful as well when they take on Etoile FC on the pitch.

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