Checkmate Unfortunately Turns Into A Stalemate
By Kevin Prasad on 2 April 2016
Geylang International played out their fifth draw of the season as a last minute goal by Warriors FC ensured both sides shared the spoils, in an intriguing 2-2 stalemate at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
The Rhinos had taken the lead through an early Jonathan Behe goal, but the Eagles responded after the break and went in front via strikes from Gabriel Quak and Carlos Delgado, before Ridhuan Muhammad earned a point for the visitors with a last-gasp equalizer.
Knowing that three points would have taken them to the top of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League standings, the Eagles got off to a flying start in the match.
Carlos Delgado was first to trouble the Warriors’ defence with a half-volley inside the box, but it was duly blocked by Kento Fukuda. Three minutes later, Delgado once again unleashed a ferocious strike which narrowly flashed past Yazid Yazin’s goal.
The opener then came seven minutes later, as Jonathan Behe pounced onto Shaiful Esah’s pin-point corner-kick delivery, before thumping past Syazwan Buhari, to draw first blood for the Rhinos.
Geylang then rallied after falling behind and they nearly pulled level on several occasions thereafter, but were denied by the heroics of the Warriors’ custodian as the veteran Yazid palmed away three on-target free-kick attempts.
With the Eagles focused on the equalizer, Warriors caught them on the break in the 39th minute. Nikola Rak picked up a defence splitting pass from Behe and sprinted into the Geylang’s box. The Croatian playmaker then fired a low shot which crept past Syazwan, but fortunately the effort, slammed against post and the Eagles breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The Eagles suffered a similar fate on the other end, with Daniel Bennett crashing a header off Gabriel Quak’s corner onto the crossbar and after that closest attempt on goal, the first-half soon expired.
The ‘greenwhitearmy’ then came out fighting after the interval and got their reward five minutes later, when Gabriel got on the end of a Delgado’s cross, to place his sublime curling strike into the bottom left corner, for the deserved equalizer.
With both teams levelled with a goal apiece, the momentum and tempo of the game started to decrease as the battle for possession in the middle of the park heighten.
Many of the 1,854 spectators thought it was headed to a 1-1 draw before the final minutes ensured a thrilling end which presented two more goals to the highly anticipated fixture.
Stepping in for the suspended Hasrin Jailani, Geylang’s Assistant Coach, Mohd Noor Ali made bold substitutions and pushed his side for a winner. The Eagles then reaped the dividends as they etched a lead for the first time in the 86th minute when Delgado let it rip, from 25-yards out, leaving Yazid with no chance as the stunning pile driver smashed into the net.
With less than four minutes remaining, Geylang truly believed that the Argentine’s goal, was the possible winner and the three points were more or less, in the bag.
However, there was to be more drama in store for the fans, as the Eagles’ lead only lasted barely two minutes as the Rhinos scored the equalizer through former Geylang captain, Ridhuan Muhammad, whom capped off his Warriors’ debut with a fantastic finish from an acute angle, just before the full-time whistle.
Speaking after the game, Noor Ali was filled with mixed emotions about his players, “I think we didn’t come out to play in the first half. We definitely did better in the second half when we were putting more pressure on Warriors,” said the press conference debutant.
The former Singapore international also added, “It’s definitely two points lost for us and I think it is a bit disappointing to get a point, especially when they (Warriors) scored towards the last minute.”
Geylang International FC will now pay a visit to Hougang Stadium in their next game against Hougang United FC on 07th April 2016, in a bid to register a victory.
Full Time: Geylang International FC [Gabriel Quak 50’, Carlos Delgado 86’] 2 – 2 [Jonathan Behe 16’, Ridhuan Muhammad 88’] Warriors FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Nor Azli
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Daniel Bennett, Yuki Ichikawa (Shariff Samat 30′), Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Isa Halim (C) (Amy Recha 66′), Nor Azli, Carlos Delgado; Gabriel Quak, Sahil Suhaimi, Branko Cubrilo (Shawal Anuar 76′)
*Photos Courtesy of S.League