A stunning goal from Chang Jo-yoon earned Woodlands Wellington a point on Friday following a 1-1 draw with Balestier Khalsa in the S.League.
Following a goalless first half at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the Tigers took the lead seven minutes after the hour mark after a rare mistake by Yazid Yasin left Goran Ljubojevic with a simple tap-in.
But in the 73rd minute, a moment of brilliance from Chang saw him equalise for Woodlands, which ultimately proved enough for the point.
Having claimed a 4-0 win over Courts Young Lions in their opening game to the new season, Balestier entered Friday brimming with confidence in a clash that was made even more intriguing given new Rams boss Darren Stewart had only departed the Toa Payoh Stadium at the end of last year.
Neither side were able to assert themselves early on in the game, although Tigers boss Marko Kraljevic would have been the happier coach given his side did show interest in testing the opposition goalkeeper albeit from distance.
And it was one of these long-range efforts that nearly handed them the lead in the 22nd minute; Ridwan Jamil unlucky to be denied after sending a blistering 25-yard half-volley into the post.
Still, neither side were able to carve out a real clear-cut opening and it took until a minute after the hour mark before the next chance came when Balestier attacker Kim Min-ho did well to create space for himself on the edge of the area, before sending a shot way over.
Nonetheless, the deadlock was finally broken in the 67th minute after an uncharacteristic error in judgement from Yazid saw him get caught out by Syed Thaha’s deflected cross and palm the ball back into the danger zone, allowing Ljubojevic to stab home from close range.
However, it took the Rams just six minutes to hit back and it came from a piece of magic by Chang; the South Korean skipping inside Yusiskandar Yusop before curling a subime effort from the edge of the area into the top corner.
And as the game entered its closing stages, both sides looked increasingly content to play out the draw.
Moon Soon-ho had a half-chance in the 81st minute when he was picked out inside the box by Atsushi Shimono but could only blast a shot off target, before Chang could only curl a freekick straight at Zaiful Nizam six minutes later.
A minute from time, Ljubojevic had one final opportunity to win it for Balestier after a high ball dropped to him at the near post but he could only send a header over, leaving both sides to settle for a share of the spoils.
In Friday’s other game, DPMM FC moved top of the table after claiming their second win in two games – beating Warriors FC 2-0 at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.
Following a goalless first half, Rodrigo Tosi broke the deadlock for the Bruneian outfit in the 49th minute, before Rosmin Kamis added a second to wrap up the three points in injury-time.
Woodlands Wellington: Yazid Yasin, Rosman Sulaiman, Walid Lounis, Milos Jevtic, Andy Ahmad, Armanizam Dolah, Taufiq Ghani, Atsushi Shimono, Stefan Milojevic, Chang Jo-yoon (Fadhil Noh 88’), Moon Soon-ho (Patrick Paran 88’).
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam, Yusiskandar Yusop (Tajeli Salamat 82’), Emir Lotinac, Paul Cunningham, Syed Thaha, Ridwan Jamil, Poh Yi Feng, Zulkiffli Hassim, Hanafi Akbar (Ahmad Syahir 45’), Kim Min-ho, Goran Ljubojevic.