Eagles And Tigers Play Out Scoreless Draw
By Andrew Ang on 4 March 2016
Geylang International and Balestier Khalsa played out a goalless draw on Thursday evening at the Bedok Stadium, in front of 1,811 spectators.
Despite having several openings throughout the game, both sides failed to find the back of the net.
Even when the chances came in a silver spoon, neither team could put them away as they both returned home with a solitary point.
The stalemate meant that the Eagles extended their unbeaten streak to four games and have recorded their second clean sheet, while the Tigers are still without win this season.
Both teams started the game aggressively as they searched for an early goal and the visitors could have broken the deadlock as early in the third minute through Fadli Kamis. However, despite sliding at full-stretch, the Tigers’ defender failed to steer home a splendid free-kick delivery by Fazli Ayob.
After that early chance by Balestier, the Eagles then took over the show and dominated the proceedings, as the Tigers struggled to get going.
Geylang were finding it difficult to break down the Tigers’ defence and resorted to attempting long shots at times, as Stanely and Branko Cubrilo’s shots from range strayed wide of the goal.
Soon later, Faritz Hameed was presented with a glorious opportunity in the 21st minute after he latched on Stanely Ng’s chip behind the Balestier’s backline. However, the cross cum shot was too little too late as Zulkiffli Hassim blocked the attempt with timely challenge.
The hosts’ had another chance to open the scoring as Carlos Delgado pounced onto Branko’s chest pass and hammered a pile driver towards goal. Nevertheless, Balestier’s custodian, Zaiful Nizam pulled off a stunning save.
Geylang’s best chance of the first-half fell to Gabriel Quak in the 43th minute when he battered a superb free-kick which took a wicked deflection off the Tigers’ wall, before it sailed inches above the crossbar, despite leaving Zaiful completely beaten.
The Eagles started the second-half hungrier as they created a glorious opportunity five minutes into the restart, when substitute, Indra Sahdan Daud launched a free-kick effort, which was destined for the bottom left corner, but Zaiful executed a fine diving save.
Chances continued to be at a premium, and this time round Eagles’ Yuki Ichikawa rose the highest to nod a header towards goal, but once again Zaiful continued to be an obstacle as he made a finger-tip save to parry away the close-range effort.
They had another chance to take the lead in the 68th minute, as Safirul Sulaiman picked up a poor clearance from outside the box, and blasted a rocket shot towards goal, which unfortunately, ballooned over the crossbar.
The zealous drive in the Eagles’ camp started to diminish, as the Tigers stepped up their game in the closing stages. Fazli Ayob unleashed a missile, but it was way off target as the effort belted into the stands. Minutes later, he was presented with another chance. This time round, he whipped in a cross and it found Sheikh Abdul Hadi at the far post, but the defender got his bearings wrong as his diving header crashed in to the side-netting.
The visitors then had a fabulous chance to clinch three points in the 86th minute, when substitute Hazzuwan Halim rifled a shot inside the box past Syazwan Buhari. Nonetheless, Geylang’s captain, Isa Halim saved the Eagles’ blushes as he placed his body on the line, to make a heroic goal-line clearance.
Geylang then introduced S.League debutants, Brandon Koh and Anders Aplin in the dying stages of the game, to press forward for a last-gasp winner. In the 88th minute, the duo then combined for the final attempt, before the time expired.
Brandon dazzled his way around his marker and launched a pin-point cross into the box. Anders Aplin, whom was surprisingly unmarked, missed the goal totally as he glanced his header just wide, despite being a few yards away from goal.
Soon later, the match referee blew the final whistle and both sides shared the spoils in the exciting yet goalless encounter.
Speaking after the game, Geylang International’s Head Coach Hasrin Jailani, was filled with mixed emotions about his charges, “I am disappointed with the point because it is not easy to play against a team with 11 players in their own half. We didn’t create enough chances to win today,” said Hasrin.
The 40-year-old also added, “It was clearly two points loss and we must also work on our concentration levels to prevent quick counter-attacks in the dying minutes.”
Geylang International FC will now look forward to their next game against Albirex Niigata (S) at the Bedok Stadium on 10th March 2016!
Full Time : Geylang International FC 0 – 0 Balestier Khalsa FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Isa Halim
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Shariff Samat, Faritz Hameed, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Indra Sahdan 46’), Isa Halim (C), Gabriel Quak (Brandon Koh 83’), Safirul Sulaiman, Stanely Ng, Carlos Delgado (Anders Aplin 78’), Branko Cubrillo
*Photos Courtesy of S.League