It was going well for Balestier Khalsa at half-time in the second leg of their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final against Geylang International at Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
Their one-goal lead from the first leg was intact, and the Tigers (above) were comfortable. They looked set for a place in the semi-finals.
But a looping header by Joaquin Lopez in the 58th minute revived the Eagles and meant both sides were level on aggregate. The Tigers had a golden chance to seal the win in the 88th minute, but Ruzaini Zainal somehow sent his shot high and wide with an empty net gapping.
The score remained the same after extra time and the Tigers finally saw off the Eagles 4-3 on penalties to advance to the final four. Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic was all smiles after the hard-fought match and said: "We had the better chances in this game. We could have won in normal time, but were denied a few times by the goalkeeper.
"I have to applaud the players of both teams for playing 120 minutes and even penalties when some of them are fasting. It's not easy. "We gave Geylang a good fight and we deserved to win."
Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner admitted that the loss on penalties was tough to swallow. He said: "I have to disagree with Marko, because I felt we were the better team and we had the better chances, but I can't blame my players for losing on penalties. They fought till the end."
The Tigers will face Great Eastern-yeo'S S.League champions Tampines Rovers in the semi-finals, and Kraljevic is confident that his team can go all the way.
He said: "Tampines have been scoring well in the cup lately, but my team can do it. If we keep fighting like we have done the last two games, we can win this competition."
This article was first published on July 3, 2014.
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