Eagles And Stags Settle For A Point In Eastern Derby II
By Kevin Prasad on 30 June 2017
A late goal by Ricardo Sendra allowed Geylang International to share the spoils with Tampines Rovers, after a 1-1 stalemate at Jurong West Stadium on Thursday evening.
Fazrul Nawaz opener in the 54th minute was cancelled out by the Argentinean four minutes before the end as Geylang maintained their undefeated streak under the reins of Caretaker Coach Noor Ali.
The game ended in a draw but in truth Geylang spurned several opportunities to score which would have seen them attain maximum points.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, as both teams’ defence were unrelenting and yielded little space
Aside from a shot each by Hafiz Abu Sujad & Fazrul Nawaz in the 17th minute, which was parried away to safety by Syazwan Buhari in quick succession, Tampines had no other attempts to speak of before the break.
However, for Geylang it was a different story as the Eagles had a sight of goal on a few occasions.
Amy Recha could have broken the deadlock in the 25th minute, when partner Shawal Anuar nodded down a long punt, and the former unleashed a belter from distance. However, the ambitious effort flashed inches wide of the top right-corner.
It could have been a comfortable two-goal lead for the visitors clad in black 10 minutes later, but the crossbar was in the way on both attempts and that allowed both teams to enter their respective dressing-rooms with a goalless stalemate for half-time.
First, Shawal latched onto Anders Aplin’s intelligent lobbed pass and hammered a first-time volley in the 30th minute. However the shot, slammed off upright and was cleared to safety.
A few minutes later, Victor Coto was the next victim to be denied by the bar, as Shawal teed up the Costa Rican in the box, but the latter’s attempt glided past Haikal Hasnol, but agonizingly crashed against the crossbar.
The second-half witnessed a more open game, as the Stags struck nine minutes after the restart, to give Tampines the lead.
Ismadi Mukhtar spotted Fazrul with a defence-splitting pass and the latter rifled a shot at goal, but Syazwan put his body on the line and blocked the point-blank attempt. However, Fazrul was quickest to react as he pounced on the loose ball with his knee, to lob the ball over the flailing Syazwan, to open the scoring.
Instead of letting their heads fall, the Eagles reacted positively and started to pile the pressure on Tampines.
Fresh legs were being introduced shortly as Amy and Shawal were replaced by Shahfiq Ghani and Gabriel Quak, respectively to increase the attacking impetus.
However, the Eagles found Haikal and his gloves in their way, as the Stags’ custodian made numerous saves to keep Tampines’ lead intact.
In the 74th minute, Fartiz Hameed striked a stinging volley at goal, but Haikal got his palms behind the ball, just in time to make a great save.
Five minutes later, Haikal was then called upon once again to push away Sendra’s rocket, before having to keep out a low drive from Faritz in quick succession.
With all the huffing and puffing in the offensive third, the elusive equalizer finally arrived in the 86th minute, as Sendra rose the highest to meet Shahfiq’s pin-point corner-kick and steered in a header into the back of the net, to break the Stags’ hearts.
The Eagles then tried to force a winner thereafter, and almost came close to a fairy-tale ending right at the death. Gabriel swung in a sweet ball towards the back-post, but the unmarked Coto smashed his header into the side-netting instead, and both sides had to settle for a point after four minutes of additional time.
Speaking after the game Noor Ali, was in mixed emotions, “I wouldn’t say I was happy but I am not disappointed either. We had two good chances and it would have been a different game had we taken them. In fact, we could have gotten the winner in the last minute but it was not to be.” said the ex-Singapore International, with a cheeky smile
The Eagles’ legend also added, “I thought we did well today, in terms of our performance and my target now is to try push the team higher up the table and possibly clinch the League Cup, starting next week.”
Geylang International FC will face Garena Young Lions in their next fixture, at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 02 July 2017!
Full Time: Tampines Rovers FC (Fazrul Nawaz 54’) 1 – 1 Geylang International FC (Ricardo Sendra 86’)
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Ricardo Sendra
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Ricardo Sendra, Safirul Sulaiman, Isa Halim (C) (Stanely Ng 81’), Shawal Anuar (Gabriel Quak 69’), Amy Recha (Shahfiq Ghani 58’), Victor Coto