Geylang International FC

10-man Rams hold off rampant Eagles

Geylang International FC 0-0 Woodlands Wellington FC

In a repeat match up between the host Eagles and the Rams at the Bedok Stadium, it was the visitors who were eager to avenge their 4-1 loss in their RHB Singapore Cup loss but the hosts were out to inflict even more damage to their counterparts. As the story unfolded, it would be the visitors who would have the last laugh in a game that ran into extra time and penalties.

The game started on a high for the Eagles as they pressed the Rams defense from the beginning of play. Talismanic Jozef Kaplan was once again at his best as his constant running and link up play with Wahyudi Wahid caused the Rams defense all sorts of problems and it was the heroics of Ram’s goalkeeper, Yazid Yassin who prevented Kaplan from opening his accounts in the 8th minute of play with an excellent save low to his right.

Tempers were beginning to flare as both teams were engaged in some of the hardest tackling seen all season and the match was further bolstered by vocal supporters from both sides. With key Eagles players unable to compete due to injuries and suspensions, the midfield seemed a little light weight on paper but gallantly stood to their task as they broke down the visitors’ attack and controlled the flow the play.

When breached, it was the heroics of Takuma Ito, the Eagles custodian who prevented the Rams from opening their accounts. As the first half came to an end, both teams were locked in a midfield battle as they aimed to establish control of the game.

As the second half began to the same tempo, the Eagles were once again on the ascendency as their forward line of Jozef Kaplan, Shotaro Ihata and Wahyudi Wahid once again terrorised the Rams defense. Kaplan missed two golden opportunities to convert as Yazid Yassin was proving to be his undoing in front of goal. When finally breached, the Rams were saved by the referee’s whistle for off side or infringements on the visitors back-line.

A key catalyst of the match was the sending off of Rams No. 4 Mohd Shahril for two reckless challenges, first in the 50th minute and the second seven minutes later on Wahyudi Wahid. However, the lack of numbers on the field served to only galvanise the Rams defense as they displayed a robust back line that would not be breached.

As both teams struggled to find much momentum from the 70th minute due to the humidity and fatigue, the referee blew for full time and the match entered into extra time.

Once again, the Eagles started on a high and were immediately almost rewarded for their industry as Jozef Kaplan found himself tearing away from the Rams defense line only to be thwarted by Yazid Yassin once again as the ball was saved with his legs despite Kaplan powering a well placed shot on goal.

The remainder of each half of extra time saw both teams slowly tiring out and this would play an important role in how the match would eventually reach its climatic conclusion.

As the games wore down to a penalty shootout, it was the Rams who got off to a positive start as they converted three of their penalties and the Eagles, much to their dismay, missed two of their earlier penalties. The Rams converted their fourth penalty and this confirmed their place in the semi-finals of the Starhub League Cup while the hosts were left to ponder what would have been if they had converted their chances.

“The team played very well and they gave it their all, at the end of the day, it was just that shortage of luck that didn’t see them through” remarked coach Noor Ali on the performance of his team.

Final score: Geylang International FC 0-0 Woodlands Wellington FC (Woodlands won 4-1 on penalties)

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