YOUNG Tigers coach Ong Kim Swee hit out at his defenders for being "error prone" after the Malaysian side lost 2-0 to Singapore's Balestier Khalsa in the S-League on Friday.
Tigers dominated possession but a defensive Balestier played a patient game to prevail at home.
The teams came into the match, sharing the best defensive record, but the deadlock was broken after just two minutes.
A long diagonal pass by Balestier goalkeeper Joey Sim appeared to pose no real danger when it found its way to Tigers defender Mahalli Jasuli but the captain was caught napping, allowing Hamqammal Shah to score their opening goal past Izham Tarmizi.
Balestier relied on counter-attacks throughout the match and their patience was rewarded in the 59th minute when a slip by Tigers centre-back Shahrul Mohd Saad provided Ruhaizad Ismail a clear path for the second goal.
"Mahalli and Shahrul led the team down yesterday (Friday). They had eight or nine players in the box. That was their game plan," said Kim Swee yesterday.
"But we lost due to two silly mistakes. Those were the only chances Balestier got! We have to learn. Whether we win or lose, we have to improve. "
Tigers face Hougang United on Friday without key players, Mahalli, Fadhli Shas, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, who have received a national team call-up for the international friendly against Sri Lanka next weekend.
"I will have to rotate those available in their absence... it will be a difficult match," Kim Swee added. By Ajitpal Singh