Geylang International FC

Albirex Crush Eagles’ League Cup Dreams

11222358_1104922176188943_5282949386876974537_nGeylang International’s hopes of making it to The New Paper League Cup 2015 Grand Final were dashed by Albirex Niigata (S), whom overwhelmed the Eagles 3-0 in the Semi-Finals of the competition at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday evening.

Albirex’s Atsushi Kawata opened the scoring for the White Swans with a stupendous 11th minute header. Strikes from Kento Nagasaki and Fumiya Kogure in the closing stages of the game, sealed the win to secure Albirex a coveted spot in the Final.

Albirex entered the match in great morale, after topping Group C with back-to-back, 2-0 victories against Home United and GFA Sporting Westlake, eight days ago. However, the Eagles did not have the luxury of rest and seemed fatigued, after their stunning victory over reigning champions, Brunei DPMM only just two days ago.

Despite all odds, Geylang still held their heads high and went all guns blazing in search for a win. Having retained the same starting eleven against the Wasps, many believed that the game against Albirex was going to be another surprising, giant-killing performance.

However, despite putting up a gutsy show in the opening moments, Geylang lost it in after 10 minutes, as Kawata rose the highest to head Kogure’s free-kick delivery, past the outstretched Yazid Yazin.

Geylang, then had a chance to equalise a few minutes later, but Tatsuro Inui’s curling free-kick was comfortably saved by Albirex’s goalkeeper, Yosuke Nozawa.

Kawata, then had a glorious chance to double the White Swans’ lead in the 23rd minute. The Japanese striker released a pile-driver from outside the box, but Yazid Yazin was equal to the task as he executed a terrific diving save, to save Geylang the blushes.

Just before the first-half concluded, Geylang had two splendid chances to draw level on two separate occasions. In the 43rd minute, Hafiz sent in a stunning shot from outside the box, to catch Nozawa off his line. However, the wonderful effort blazed well over the bar.

The final chance of the half fell for Eagles’ Kento Fukuda as his powerful header re-directed from Inui’s corner-kick, unfortunately, sailed above the bar.

After the break, Geylang resumed the match, determined to pour forward in search of an equalizer. With that positive mindset instilled, Geylang were able to exploit Albirex’s defence on five occasions. Unfortunately, despite the host of chances created, the unstoppable force (Eagles) failed to convert against the immovable object (White Swans).

The best of the five goal-scoring opportunities, fell to Eagles’ captain, Jozef Kaplan as his attempt to curl in a shot from about 25 yards floated just inches wide of the goal.

In the 71st minute, Eagles’ Head Coach, Jorg Steinebrunner then replaced Hafiz Nor  for young starlet, Shawal Anuar. Shawal instantaneously alerted his presence as he unleashed a ferocious shot towards goal, which required Nazawa to parry away the stinging attempt with a reflex-save.

With Geylang pressing upfront in numbers, the Eagles started opening up gaps between the midfield and defensive lines, which Albirex substitute, Kento Nagasaki took full advantage of, by netting the second goal in the 82nd minute, with a 30-yard stunner, past the outstretched Yazid Yazin.

That late goal certainly had a psychological impact on the Eagles, but Albirex were not done yet as the Japanese added the icing to the cake, with Fumiya Kogure’s trademark free-kick execution from 25-yards out in the 87th minute, to wrap the game with a 3-0 victory.

With that result, Albirex keep alive their hopes of repeating their League Cup triumph of 2011 as they will now meet either Balestier Khalsa or Hougang United in the Grand Final on 10 July.

Geylang’s Head Coach Jorg Steinebrunner, was disappointed with the loss and shared, “We didn’t have the physical presence in the game today. In the first half, we gave a goal away. We didn’t have the physical presence in the game today. In the first half, we gave a goal away”.

The  43-year-old German also shared, “I told the boys that the desire was a little bit missing today. The difference between Albirex and us was that we made three mistakes today and they didn’t. We didn’t looked as energetic going forward and when your body and mind is tired, you make mistakes”.

Geylang International FC will now host Harimau Muda at Bedok Stadium on 24 July 2015, when the S.League resumes in about 2 weeks time.

Full Time : Geylang International FC 0 – 3 (Atsushi Kawata 11’, Kento Nagasaki 82’, Fumiya Kogure 87’) Albirex Niigata (S) FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Syed Thaha

Geylang International FC: Yazid Yazin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa (Khairulnizam Jumahat, 88’), Kento Fukada, Hafiz Osman, Syed Thaha, Nor Azli (Mustaqim Manzur, 79’), Anaz Hadee, Tatsuro Inui, Hafiz Nor (Shawal Anuar, 71’), Jozef Kaplan (C), Bruno Castanheira

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