Geylang International FC

Amazing Eagles March Into TNP League Cup Semi-Finals

11707839_1102443476436813_7375586979001570570_nGeylang International FC booked their spot in The New Paper (TNP) League Cup Semi-Finals with a breath-taking 4-2 victory, over the reigning League Cup champions, Brunei DPMM at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 2nd July 2015.

The Eagles soared to the top of TNP League Cup Group A, with seven points out of a possible nine after concluding the group stages with 2 victories and a draw.

Despite a Bruno Castanheira’s curler and a Jozef Kaplan‘s scorcher etched a two goal lead, DPMM managed to equalize just before the break, with both Paulo Sergio and Rafael Ramazotti, scoring a goal each.

With the scores levelled at 2-2, the Eagles turned up the heat in the second-half and stole the show with an imperative win, as Bruno sealed his hat- trick with two more blistering curlers, to mark the Eagles’ first-ever win against DPMM in 12 competitive matches.

Nevertheless, Geylang required only a point from their tantalizing fixture, to qualify for the Semi-Finals. However the Eagles, showed no signs of sharing the spoils with DPMM and instead went all out with their guns blazing.

Coach Jorg Steinbrunner, reshuffled his tactics to aggressively pack the midfield, before launching multiple blitzkrieg counter-attacks throughout the game, which paid the dividends as the Eagles secured a spot in the knock-out stages after putting up one of the best performances of the season.

Despite the comfortable score line, the Eagles’ opponents never made it easy for them and it was a pretty even game, considering the kind of chances both sides had.

The Eagles drew first blood with their first opportunity in the 14th minute. The DPMM players stopped play after Hafiz Osman went down with an injury, but Geylang’s Tatsuro Inui decided to break-free down the wing, despite having the disadvantage. The Japanese playmaker then found Bruno Casntahanheira with a deft pass, whom cleverly curled his finish past the flailing DPMM’S custodian, Wardun Yussof.

Seven minutes later, Geylang doubled their advantage through their captain, Jozef Kaplan in the 21st minute. The Slovakian fired home into an empty net after a delicious through ball by Tatsuro Inui was misjudged by both Boris Raspudic and Wardun Yussoff. The deft pass, eventually rolled towards the goal and the Eagles skipper, made no mistake from close range as he scored to assure the Eagles get a vital two-goal lead.

However, credits to the Bruneians as they managed draw back level and equalize before the first-half concluded, with their trademark – set-pieces.

In the 29th minute, Paulo Sergio pulled one back for the Wasps with an outstanding free-kick attempt from about 20 odd yards, which left Geylang’s custodian, Yazid Yazin rooted to the ground.

A few moments later, towering DPMM striker got the much-deserved equalizer after connecting well with Najib Tarif’s free-kick delivery, with a well-timed header into the back of the net in the 37th minute.

Minutes before half-time, Wasps’ Portuguese winger Paulo, had the chance to overturn the tide completely as he raced towards goal and unleashed a vicious goal bound shot. However, Yazid Yazin exquisitely pulled off a marvellous save to truly save the Eagles, the blushes.

DPMM maintained their pressure after the interval, but they wasted two glorious opportunities to level matters, through skipper, Rosmin Kamis and their Brazilian striker, Ramazotti. Both of their efforts from inside the penalty box, blazed over the bar and the Wasps were made to pay for their negligent finishing, soon after.

In the 69th minute, Geylang’s Hafiz Nor sprinted down the flank and released Jozef through on goal. However, the Eagles’ captain amazingly teed up Castanheira with a one-touch pass and the latter picked his spot with a composed curling finish, to restore Geylang’s lead.

DPMM refused to throw in the towel yet, and were inches away from claiming another equaliser 2 minutes later. A deep cross into the box by Rosmin was well met by Brian McLean’s header, which crashed against the crossbar and back into play.

Before the Bruneians could even get back to defend, Kaplan was already galloping down the flank, spearheading a counter-attack. The Slovakian, then dispatched a defence splitting pass towards Castanheira, who then simply tucked his curling shot beyond the outstretched Wardun, to stun the Wasps and  seal his first Eagles’ hat-trick.

That goal was the killer-blow to DPMM, and it assured Geylang a place in the Semi-Finals on Sunday where they will face Japanese outfit, Albirex Niigata (S) FC.

Geylang’s Head Coach Jorg Steinebrunner, was very elated with the win and shared, ‘According to me, today’s performance was a lot about determination and not resting on possibly having that one point.”

The  43-year-old German also added on, “Yes we have topped the group and qualified. We can be happy for a few hours, but tomorrow morning it is back to training and our next task will be Albirex, a strong and physical S.League powerhouse squad.”

Elsewhere, in the other Group A fixture, it was a fairytale ending for Singapore Recreation Club as they created history by becoming the first NFL team to register a League Cup point, as they shared the spoils with Hougang United after 1-1 draw at Hougang Stadium.

Despite the draw, Hougang United also progressed to the knock-out stages as runners-up of Group A

Geylang International FC will now face Albirex Niigata (S) FC on 05 July 2015, whilst Balestier Khalsa FC will take on Hougang United in the other Semi-Finals match on 06 July 2015.

Full Time : Geylang International FC (Bruno Castanheira 14’, 69’, 71’, Jozef Kaplan 14’) 4 – 2 (Paulo Sergio 30’, Rafael Ramazotti 38’)  Brunei DPMM

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Bruno Castanheira

Geylang International FC: Yazid Yasin (GK), Anaz Hadee, Hafiz Osman (Khairulnizam Jumahat 58′), Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Huzaifah Aziz 74′), Nor Azli Yusoff, Yuki Ichikawa, Tatsuro Inui, Jozef Kaplan (C), Hafiz Nor (Shah Hirul 87′), Bruno Castanheira

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