Football: First-choice strike force missing for Balestier in AFC Cup clash but coach Kraljevic remains confident

Philippine side Kaya FC's Masanari Omura (left) goes for the ball in their AFC Cup Group F match against Balestier Khalsa on April 12, 2016. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Their two main offensive outlets may have been ruled out but Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic is confident his team has enough firepower for Tuesday's Asian Federation Cup Group E must-win match against bottom team New Radiant.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference at Newton's Hotel Royal on Monday morning, the German-Croat backed his local players to step up in place of their two foreign forwards, Miroslav Krstic and Robert Pericic.

Krstic, who ended an 11-game scoring drought in the S-League team's 2-0 win over the Garena Young Lions last Thursday (April 21), is suspended for the game as he accumulated two yellow cards in the tournament while Pericic is still undergoing rehabilitation from a knee injury.

Kraljevic said: "Fadil (Noh) will get a chance to play from the beginning. Jamil (Ali) will start, Syafiq (Zainal) too, we need more attacking players who can give us lots of creativity in the attacking third...we'll put up our best and focus on attacking and winning the game."

With two group matches remaining, the Tigers currently sit third in Group F on four points, and must beat the Maldivian champions at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night to keep their hopes alive of advancing into the knockout stage.

Group leaders Kaya of the Philippines, with nine points, travel away to face second-placed Kitchee (seven points) of Hong Kong in the other clash.

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