90 Minutes With: Goran Subara

Ian Griffiths was at the Toa Payoh Stadium to watch Balestier Khalsa favourite Goran Subara in S.League action against SAFFC on Thursday.

No way past the Tigers centre-back!

Balestier Khalsa favourite Goran Subara has been one of the many heroes in a side that has taken the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League by surprise this season.

Having formed a rock solid partnership at the heart of the Tigers defence, Subara has shone this campaign, and is one of the key reasons why Balestier - a team not renowned for grabbing goals aplenty and yet who are impressively tight at the back - are riding high in the league.

Here's a look at how Subara fared for Darren Stewart's charges in the 1-0 win over Singapore Armed Forces.

KICK-OFF - Balestier's number 15 looks ready for the battle ahead, clapping his encouragement before the start of the game. Subara is occupying his usual spot at the centre of defence alongside Paul Cunningham, vacating the midfield berth he was in against Albirex Niigata last week.

1 min - Subara is in the action already, making himself available and receiving the ball from goalkeeper Joey Sim as Balestier look to play the ball out from the back.

3 mins - A great interception sees Subara smartly whip the ball off Fazrul Nawaz's toes. Very alert play there from our man under the microscope.

6 mins - Playing against Subara and Cunningham, it looks as if it might be a tough night for SAFFC's front two of Fazrul and last season's Player of the Year and leading scorer Mislav Karoglan. The Balestier duo form a distinctly imposing pairing.

9 mins - Subara heads up field for Balestier's first corner of the game, the ball is cleared, but Hamqaamal Shah then sends a lovely looped pass to Subara who heads the first real chance of the game narrowly wide. A good effort all round there from Balestier.

13 mins - Another corner for Balestier and Subara is denied by Bah Mamadou's excellent clearing header following Tengku Mushadad's set piece.

18 mins
- Great defending from Subara down Balestier's left flank, using his body well to jostle Fazrul off the ball and regain possession for his side. Balestier's Australian import is already looking very sharp.

23 mins
- An attempted through ball by SAFFC is easily dealt with by Subara who, as any good defender should do, read the situation well. A neat pass then finds midfielder Park Kang-jin.

29 mins - Fazrul must be slightly fed up with Subara by now, as he is beaten to the ball yet again by the defender. There's just no way through at the moment for SAFFC.

37 mins - SAFFC danger man Tatsuro Inui whips in a free-kick from the right, but Subara rises majestically to head away. Yet more solid defending at the heart of a Balestier defence still coping admirably with their high profile opponents.

42 mins
- No nonsense defending from Subara this time, getting between the ball and his man to halt the progress of SAFFC's Japanese midfielder Shimpei Sakurada. Moments later, Subara slides in to divert Fazrul's dangerous cross behind for a corner.

HALF-TIME ANALYSIS - A terrific first half for Subara who has looked rock solid thus far. Given his formidable partnership with Cunningham, and on this evidence at least, it is little wonder that Balestier had only conceded six goals going into the clash with SAFFC. Subara also always poses a threat when he wanders forward for set pieces.

SECOND-HALF - Subara back on the pitch as his side chases the victory that would take them to the top of the table.

49 mins - Subara is back in the thick of things, snuffing out Daniel Bennett's long pass before Fazrul can get a sniff. He follows that up with a good ball down the line for Patrick Paranjody.

52 mins - From Inui's flighted swinging free-kick, Subara yet again stays strong to head clear, drawing the foul from Bennett in the process.

55 mins - That man Subara is there again, this time nicking the ball away from Karoglan who was dangerously driving across the edge of the Balestier penalty area.  

64 mins
- Balestier are coming under increased SAFFC pressure as the Warriors push on for the win they desperately need. Subara and the rest of his team are still holding firm though.

66 mins
- The first rash moment of the game for Subara who over commits himself, allowing Inui to spin past him. However, the ever reliable Cunningham is there to clear up for Balestier.

68 mins - Showing exactly why the Balestier coaching staff are happy to play Subara in midfield, the 25-year-old expertly steps up from the back and surges forward before laying the ball off. Neat and simple stuff, but highly effective. Subara, more often than not, looks very comfortable in possession.

69 MINS - GOAL BALESTIER KHALSA - Substitute Andrew Tan, weaving his way past a couple of tackles, advances in the box before drilling an accurate shot past SAFFC goalkeeper Shahril Jantan.

75 mins - With his side 1-0 up, Subara - perhaps sensibly - opts not to go forward for a Balestier free-kick. Safety first now the order of the day for the Tigers so it would seem.

79 mins - The SAFFC forward line look a little weary now - and who can blame them? They have come up against a very solid and ultra-tight defensive unit at the Toa Payoh Stadium. On a soggy pitch, Balestier meanwhile do look to have the better fitness levels.

81 mins
- Another terrific Subara block, on this occasion he is there to stop Karoglan in his tracks. Yet again, having won the ball back, the defender clears down the line with aplomb.

85 mins - Subara is still going strong, chasing out of his central position to charge down an attempted cross. Great energy and a fantastic commitment to the cause.

89 mins - With the full-time whistle approaching, Subara is conspicuous by his absence in the SAFFC penalty area, yet again patrolling the halfway line as Balestier take a corner.

FULL TIME ANALYSIS - Excellent stuff from Subara who was, along with Cunningham, crucial to Balestier's vital win. Strong in the tackle and armed with a superb positional sense, Subara never looked uncomfortable against SAFFC's highly regarded strikers - something which is a glowing testimony to how talented Subara actually is. As ever, Subara played his heart out for the cause, a wonderful team spirit with which Balestier have become synonymous.

ESPNSTAR.com's '90 Minutes With' Rating = 8

What he said: Subara talked to ESPNSTAR.com's Gabriel Tan after the match:

"It was very good to win the game. Just like last week, the boys worked really hard, we followed the coach's instructions and we got the three points at the end of the night.

"It's really important to keep clean sheets. It gives a lot of confidence to us at the back, and the whole team, and especially the goalkeeper. And to keep a clean sheet against one of the most lethal attacks in the S.League is pretty good.

"One goal's enough to take three points. We just got to worry about working hard and if we can get one and be able to defend that, we'll be alright.

"Wherever the coach and the club need me, I'll play and give my 100%. But it's good being at the back again, in my natural position."

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