Depleted Eagles downed in opening fixture
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 23 February 2014
Geylang International kicked off their season with a loss after going down two goals to one at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium to Warriors FC. Hafiz Rahim and Irwan Shah netted in each half to give their side a two goal lead before Hafiz Nor’s thunderbolt in the dying stages of the game secured a consolation for the Eagles. The home side did have defender Marin Vidosevic sent off for a second yellow late on but the Warriors held on for all three points.
The match got off to a cagey start with both teams unable to put their stamp on possession in the early proceedings. It was the Eagles who had the first real chance of the match. A Hassan Sunny clearance found its way to Hafiz Nor’s feet. The winger played Ridhuan Muhammad through but Warriors’ defender Vidosevic was quick to cut out the pass and cleared the ball for a corner. The resulting corner was comfortably cleared by the Warriors.
Geylang International’s starting eleven against the Warriors
A tightly contested affair in the first half, the home side’s players were eager to show their aggression and it was only a matter of time before the referee booked Warrior’s midfielder Thomas Beattie for a reckless challenge on Geylang’s Yuki Ichikawa.
Shortly after, came Warriors’ first goal of the match.
Hafiz Rahim lined up a free kick from an acute angle and his shot, evaded everyone, including Joey Sim in goal. As the former Geylang midfielder celebrated with his teammates, the Eagles’ custodian looked on knowing he could have done better with Hafiz’s shot.
Minutes later, Warriors had the ball again in the net when Hafiz Rahim latched onto a long ball from Nicholas Velez and headed it over an onrushing Joey Sim. The linesman however had his flag up to rule the goal out for an offside. Warriors’ defender Marin Vidosevic then got himself his first caution of the game for a terrible, crunching tackle on Geylang’s new man Franco Chivilo. As he would find out later, it was a challenge from the Warriors’ defender that could have cost his side all three points.
Jonathan Tan made his Eagles’ debut against the Warriors
The second half saw the introduction of Geylang’s new winger, Jonathan Tan. The teenage winger was brought on for the injured Fabian Kwok to inject extra pace into the side that looked devoid of a cutting edge in the first half.
On the hour mark, Warriors added their second of the match.
Trickery from Warrior’s Nicholas Velez saw him cross for Irwan Shah. The unmarked, former LionsXii man tapped the ball into an empty net to give his side a two goal lead.
With 10 minutes to go, Warriors’ Marin Vidosevic violently fouled Geylang’s captain Ridhuan Muhammad outside the box. The referee has no other choice but to reach into his pocket to send the defender off for his second yellow.Warriors were down to 10 men and the Eagles looked to take advantage.
Take advantage they did, as Hafiz Nor found himself just outside the box. With a swivel of his right foot, the Eagles’ debutant struck a top class thunderbolt past Warriors’ Hassan Sunny, in the last minute of normal time.
Head coach V. Kanan felt his side had not played to his instructions, “They (Warriors FC) weren’t superior but we didn’t play to our strengths. In attack, we were very poor and we lost the ball easily.” He continued, “If we had played like how we had been during training, we would have got a better result.”
The Eagles had started their match without four key players, namely, Kento Fukuda, Mustaqim Manzur, Leonel Felice and Hamqammal Shah. Head coach V.Kanan rued the absence of his key men. Looking ahead to the next match, he said: “A good thing is that our key players like Leonel, should be back and at least we’ll have good depth to play against Home united.”
Geylang International will play Home United at the Bishan Stadium next Saturday, 1st March 2014.
FINAL SCORE: Warriors (Hafiz Rahim, 21′, Irwan Shah, 60′) 2-1 Geylang International (Hafiz Nor, 90′)
Warriors Line-up: Hassan Sunny, Daniel Bennett (C), Jeremy Chiang, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Thomas Beattie, Miroslav Pejic, Nicolas Velez (Shi Jiayi, 70′), Marin Vidosevic, Kevin McCann, Irwan Shah (Basit Mansoor, 90′), Hafiz Rahim (Hafsyar Farkhan, 79′)
Geylang International Line-up: Joey Sim, Yuki Ichikawa, Joaquin Lopez, Wyldan Wisam (Khairulnizam Jumahat, 63′), Jalal Jasim, Shah Hirul, Aliff Shafaein, Fabian Kwok ( Jonathan Tan, 46′), Hafiz Nor, Franco Chivilo, Ridhuan Muhammad (C)