In the wake of Thursday's 1-0 Great defeat to Balestier Khalsa, Hougang United coach Nenad Bacina believes Jordan Webb deserves more protection from the referees.
|Balestier Coach Darren Stewart|
Photo: Ko Po Hui
A 75th-minute solo goal from Zulkiffli Hassim in the 75th minute was enough to secure a result which saw Balestier move second in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League, but the game was marred by several flashpoints.
Canadian forward Webb was on the receiving end of several hard challenges from the Tigers, and Bacina believes skillful players like him deserve more protection from the men in the middle.
"I think Jordan Webb is a player who should be more protected," Bacina said after the game.
"People come for the matches to see these players who can give us some skill on the field.
"Definitely, these players should be more protected."
Bacina also reflected on what he felt had been a fairly even encounter, and revealed he had already knew the game would likely be decided by an individual moment of brilliance.
|Nenad Bacina training with Jordan Webb|
"The team that scores more goals deserve to win - tonight [Thursday] Balestier scored one and it was enough for the three points," the Croat added.
"I was predicting this kind of match - both teams are more dependent on teamwork, which is why you didn't see much in terms of creativity.
"At the same time, I knew the game would probably be decided by an individual and this time, this player was from Balestier, and he made a decisive contribution for this match."
The goal was scored 15 minutes from time when Zulkiffli galloped down the right, before cutting into the box and firing an unstoppable left-footed shot into the roof of the net.
Balestier coach Darren Stewart revealed his players had been trying to get the right winger in the game as much as possible, and believed his side's counterattacking style had worked to perfection.
"We were trying to get Zulkiffli in the game as much as possible," Stewart explained. "We were patient and it paid off - it was a great finish.
"We knew we had to keep it tight because of their individual attacking players and I think we did that."
The Australian also admitted it had been important to pick up all three points after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Gombak United last Sunday, and is already looking forward to their next match against Woodlands Wellington.
"I'm really happy with the way we bounced back after a poor game last Saturday - to step up a gear and put in a performance," Stewart added. "I'm really pleased with the lads.
"In the end I think we deserved the points, without any doubt. We just have to keep our feet on the ground and be up for our next game in ten days' time."
Hougang's next match sees them take on last season's runners-up Home United at the Jalan Besar Stadium next Thursday.