S.League Player to Watch - Week 15: Zulkiffli Hassim
Created on Thursday, 21 June 2012 20:32
This week, ESPNSTAR.com picks Balestier Khalsa's flying winger Zulkiffli Hassim as our Great Eastern-YEO's S.League Player to Watch.
By Gabriel Tan
Last Sunday, Balestier got their title bid back on track with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Home United, and they are now just five points behind leaders DPMM FC in fifth.
The victory over the third-placed Protectors was once again built on a determined team performance as Darren Stewart's well-drilled charges kept the likes of Frederic Mendy, Shotaro Ihata and Qiu Li at bay with a gritty display.
And while every member of the Tigers team played their part at the Toa Payoh Stadium last weekend, it was Zulkiffli who once again came to the fore by grabbing a brilliant winner midway through the first half, when he raced down the right wing and cut past a challenge, before drilling an effort in off the far post past a hapless Lionel Lewis.
Considering Balestier had made grinding out a 1-0 win their speciality this season, having someone like the 26-year-old in the side is crucial for them as he is the one man capable of creating something out of nothing, as he had done earlier this year with another excellent solo effort in the 1-0 win over Hougang.
On Saturday, Stewart's men take on defending champions Tampines Rovers, a side they beat 1-0 early on in the campaign but who are in a bit of form having beaten DPMM 1-0 last week.
Given Stags coach Steven Tan's preference of a three-man defence, Zulkiffli is likely to enjoy plenty of space down the flanks if the Tampines wide midfielders get too caught up in attacking and fail to drop back to help out.
And should that happen, we could just witness the Tigers record back-to-back victories over last season's runners-up and champions come Saturday.