Wounded Eagles aim to upset Sailors

Whilst in an uncomfortable position themselves, Geylang International will endeavour to make life difficult for moneybags Lion City Sailors when they host the privatised side at Our Tampines Hub.

After beating Tanjong Pagar United 2-1 in their Singapore Premier League season opener, the Eagles have found the going tough as injuries to key players such as Dutch midfielder Barry Maguire and Japanese defender Yuki Ichikawa have led to a four-game winless streak and just four points in their first five matches.

However, the nouveau riche Sailors, who boast $3 million Brazilian midfielder Diego Lopes, the last two Player of the Year winners in Gabriel Quak and Faris Ramli in their squad, are not cruising either, having won just twice in their opening five games and already dropped seven points so far.

Geylang coach Noor Ali said: “The situation we are in is obvious, and we haven’t been able to build momentum with a settled line-up, but still we try, and there were good and bad moments in the games we have played.

“The Sailors are a quality side with many senior internationals and spent big on two new imports, so the pressure is on them to win every game they play.

“Our job is to prevent them from having things go their way. We need to cut out our mistakes, be switched on for the entire game defensively, and when we have our chances at the other end, we must be clinical.”

With five goals in five games, scoring has been a weakness for the Eagles so far as they are tied with Young Lions and Tanjong Pagar for the fewest goals netted this season.

But the likes of Sylvano Comvalius, Matheus Moresche, Christopher van Huizen and Amy Recha will fancy their chances as the Sailors have conceded nine goals in five games, the same as Geylang have so far.

They would have analysed the Sailors’ 2-2 draw against champions Albirex Niigata and noted how their defence can be suspect during set-piece situations, as Shuya Yamashita was allowed to score twice from corners in the first half mid-week.

Noor Ali said: “We have players who can put in good deliveries, so that is definitely an option for us. I want players who are keen and motivated, because when the chips are down like they are now, it’s time to stand up and be counted.”