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Late heartbreak again for Bala

April 1, 2011 - 2:31pm



(Nigel Navin Vanu 62)
(Maxime Belouet 86, Selim Kaabi 90+4)

HE SAT alone on the team bench after the game, as his players carried out their cool-down routine.

Looking down at his feet, Woodlands Wellington head coach R Balasubramaniam was disconsolate.

He was four minutes away from leading his team to a famous upset against defending S-League champions Etoile.

Unfortunately, his side conceded two goals late on at the Woodlands Stadium, and it now sits at the bottom of the S-League table after six games.

It was the third time this season the Rams had fallen to late goals, following similar defeats to Albirex Niigata and Hougang.


"We were robbed," he said.

"We were on the brink of three points, so this is very frustrating, very disappointing."

"Nobody gave us any hope heading into the match, but we played a very good game."

Woodlands starlet Nigel Navin Vanu put his side in front after capitalising on a mistake by Etoile goalkeeper Antonin Trilles on 62 minutes.

But Maxime Belouet equalised for Etoile four minutes before the end, sweeping home after it seemed Woodlands goalkeeper Ang Bang Heng had been impeded while claiming a cross.

And deep into stoppage time, Etoile defender Selim Kaabi stabbed home the winner after a scramble in the Woodlands penalty box.

Despite the heartbreak, Balasubramaniam could afford a little smile when asked what he felt when Navin rolled in his side's first league goal this season.

The Rams had been on a barren run of eight games (stretching from last season) heading into last night's match, believed to be the longest scoring drought in S-League history.

"The first thing that came to my mind was you (the media)!" said Balasubramaniam.

"At least now I won’t have to hear any more questions about when my team is going to score our first goal!"

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