S.League Mid-term Report: Top marks

In the final part of our mid-season review, we take a look at the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League sides that have impressed us the most so far.

The Frenchman gives Home a third-minute lead!

S.League Mid-term Report: Steady away

S.League Mid-term Report: Must improve

DPMM FC

With half the season gone, the Bruneian outfit are currently top of the table but those who watched them closely the last time they plied their trade in Singapore's top flight will hardly be surprised.

Vjeran Simunic's charges have good players all over the park but have been extremely lethal up front with Shahrazen Said, Basiru Osman and Rodrigo Gral forming a potent attack. The trio are regularly fed with a constant supply of chances by midfield schemers Ivan Jerkovic and Azwan Saleh, while captain Rosmin Kamis plays his role of anchorman to perfection.

At the back, getting past man mountain Tales Dos Santos is a real task for even the competition's best strikers, although first-choice custodian Wardun Yussof hasn't had the most consistent of campaigns so far.

Mid-term Player of the Season: Shahrazen Said


The initial sight of the diminutive forward may not strike fear in the heart of opposition defenders, but you can be sure they'll be sweating profusely everything Shahrazen receives the ball inside the box.

The 26-year-old just seems to know where the goals are, but is also capable of carving out opportunities for his team-mates.

ESPNSTAR.com's Mid-term Grade: 9/10


Home United

The fact that Home are just five points behind DPMM is testament to the quality of the players currently at coach Lee Lim-saeng's disposal, because in all fairness, they haven't exactly been at their best so far.

Yet, they managed to reach the AFC Cup Round of 16 and remain the only side to have beaten DPMM - first in the league and then in the RHB Singapore Cup.

In Frederic Mendy, the Protectors have arguably the most dangerous striker in the league, while Shotaro Ihata and Qiu Li are more than capable of finding the back of the net. Lee deserves credit for having reinvented Firdaus Idros as a tenacious, ball-winning midfielder, while Jeremy Chiang as improved tremendously since a forgettable debut in the Great Eastern Charity Shield.

Mid-term Player of the Season: Shi Jiayi


Given Home have had their fair share of injuries this season, the importance of captain Shi has really been highlighted as he has filled in seamlessly in a multitude of positions.

Regardless of where he's deployed, the Singapore international never fails to give 100% and has added real steel to his technically-proficient style of play.

What they said

"We are in second place now and I'm hoping we'll be able to catch up with DPMM FC. We've only finished half the season; there are still a lot of points up for grabs, although I think any of the top seven teams still have a chance." - Home United coach Lee Lim-saeng

"It would be better if we were first, but I'm still happy that we're second at the halfway stage. I'll be happy if I finish the season as the top scorer but it's still to early to say; we still have 12 more games to play. But I want to score goals to help the team, not for myself." - Home United striker Frederic Mendy

ESPNSTAR.com's Mid-term Grade: 8/10


Harimau Muda

The fourth-placed Young Tigers are currently on track to meeting coach Ong Kim Swee's pre-season target of a top-five finish, but it is the manner in which they have done so that has impressive many so far this term.

At times playing with absolutely no fear despite coming up against vastly more-experienced opponents, Harimau have stayed true to playing attractive, attacking football and they have reaped its dividends.

While Ong has had to chop and change his side several times so far due to injuries and international call-ups, the players that have come in have never failed to do their job and already, it looks as if the likes of Fadhli Shas, Affize Faisal and Gary Robbat are destined for great things.

Mid-term Player of the Season: Wan Zack Haikal


Whenever the chips have been stacked against the Malaysians this season, they have always been able to call upon Wan Zack to conjure a moment of brilliance.

The Malaysia international is an absolute nightmare for full-backs with his pace and skill and is capable of singlehandedly winning a game for his side, as he did in the 2-1 win over SAFFC.

What they said

"We remain on track to achieving our pre-season target of a top-five finish. As expected, the teams we lost to were the more-experienced sides in the league - it shows experience plays a vital part. Nonetheless, we can only learn from these defeats and the boys will be more mature in the second round." - Ong Kim Swee, Harimau Muda coach

ESPNSTAR.com's Mid-term Grade: 8.5/10


Balestier Khalsa

Once in awhile, a team comes along and causes a real shock and while we admittedly did tip the Tigers to be near the foot of the table at the start of the season, it has been a pleasant surprise to see them now challenging for the title.

A couple of poor results recently means it will take a huge effort if they are to finish top come season end, but it takes nothing away from the stunning progress Balestier have made under Australian coach Darren Stewart.

From mid-table mediocrity at best, the Toa Payoh Stadium outfit are now regarded by many as one of the competition's top sides and while they don't possess the most-illustrious of names, the fact that every player knows his role and performs it to perfection has been the reason why they are currently 6th at the halfway mark of the campaign.

Mid-term Player of the Season: Park Kang-jin


While Paul Cunningham and Goran Subara, Balestier's twin towers at the back, and midfielders Tengku Mushadad and Ruhaizad Ismail all have had impressive seasons so far, the brightest spark has come from Park, who has to be one of the most underrated players in the league.

The South Korean has the poise and technique of a creative playmaker, but also possesses the determination and tactical awareness of a seasoned anchorman. Add to that his tremendous work rate and stamina, and you get one of the most complete midfielders around.

What they said

"I'm very happy with the first round so far. We're only a couple of points off second and if we can have the same results in the second round, we'll be well pleased with the year." - Balestier Khalsa coach Darren Stewart

"Overall, the first half of the season has been good. After we beat Kelantan at their home ground [in pre-season] and did well in the first few games in the S.League, we wanted to finish in the top three or four and that remains our target." - Balester Khalsa defender Jaslee Hatta

ESPNSTAR.com's Mid-term Grade: 7.5/10



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