Eagles and White Swans Fire Blanks At Bedok
By Kevin Prasad on 11 March 2016
Second-placed Geylang International, missed a chance to leapfrog Albirex Niigata (S) at the top, after both sides played out an exciting yet scoreless stalemate at Bedok Stadium on Thursday evening.
The barren result meant that the Eagles recorded their fourth draw in five games and the White Swans will be able to maintain their pole position for at least another game-week, with 8 points.
It was an end-to-end game which kept spectators at the edge of their seats as both sides were equally superior in their respective expertise.
It could have been a different outcome had Geylang converted one of their many chances. However, the Eagles’ firepower was well-matched by Yosuke Nozawa singlehandedly, as the Japanese custodian denied Geylang any chance of putting the ball into the net.
The Eagles could have gone ahead as early as the second minute, but Nozawa’s heroics prevented Sahil Suhaimi’s stinging shot, before making a back-to-back save to stop Isa Halim’s follow-up, from close range.
Geylang’s goalkeeper, Syazwan Buhari was called into action in the 19th minute and he made a spectacular dive to save Geylang’s blushes. Albirex’s Kento Nagasaki stole possession in the middle of the park and launched an ambitious lob from over 35 yards. However, the young aspiring custodian leapt at full-stretch to deny the White Swans, a lead.
Soon later, in the 24th minute, Carlos Delgado mazed his way past a sea of orange jerseys in the box, before releasing a thumping effort, which unfortunately, crashed against the woodwork and out of play.
Six minutes later, Nozawa was forced into a big save after a deft touch by Carlos, ensured time and space to shoot from the edge of the box. The Argentinean’s pile driver was destined for the top-corner, but the towering Japanese glovesman executed a splendid stop.
The last chance of the first-half fell to the White Swans, and Naofumi Tanaka did head the ball into an empty net from two yards out. However, the goal was disallowed as the referee blew his whistle for an infringement on the Eagles’ custodian, during the build-up of that play.
After the break, the battle of the birds continued as both sides were eager to draw first blood.
Re-energized for the second-half, Sahil picked up a loose ball and raced into the box. However, the crafty forward was too little too late to release his shot, as Nozawa courageously dived in to block the attempt. Branko Cubrilo, then pounced onto the rebound and hammered from close range, but once again Nozawa was Albirex’s hero as he parried the shot to safety.
Soon later, Sahil turned creator as he set up Stanely Ng with a defence-splitting pass in the 62nd minute. However, the wing wizard, was once again stopped dead in his tracks, with Nozawa putting his body on the line, to save the shot.
Albirex also had their fair share of chances, as Atsushi Kawata dispossessed Nor Azli and ran the length of the field into the Eagles’ box. The Japanese fleet-footed striker, did everything right except for the finishing aspect, as he got his bearing wrongs with the shot sailing well above the goal.
Syazwan kept Geylang in the game, courtesy of two fine saves under hectic circumstances. Firstly, the 24-year-old parried Atsushi Shirota’s diving header from point-blank range, before producing a terrific finger-tip save to deny Tatsuro Inui’s rocket from 20 yards out.
In the 79th minute, the hosts almost broke the deadlock and possibly could have walked away with three points. Fancy footwork by Sahil down the flank, allowed himself space to release a pint-point cross to Faritz Hameed. However, Nozawa’s agility was put to the test once again, as he clawed the header to safety.
Deep into stoppage time, the match referee waived off two penalty claims by Geylang as Sahil and substitute Gabriel Quak went down in the box, in the 91st and 93rd minute respectively.
Those controversial refereeing decisions late in the game robbed Geylang International of a possible victory and that sent an array of discontent amongst the home fans.
However, Geylang’s Head Coach, Hasrin Jailani took it the hardest as he vented his frustration and disbelief by kicking out at bottles and balls on the side-lines in protest.
Hasrin was then sent off by referee Sukhbir Singh after making his unhappiness known to the fourth official as the final whistle arrived minutes later.
Speaking after the game, Geylang International’s Assistant Coach Mohd Noor Ali, was filled with mixed emotions about his charges, “I thought we created enough chances to win the game… it was just the finishing part that let us down,,” said Noor Ali.
The former Singapore international also added, “We need to work on our finishing because we have had four draws so far. It is a big concern for us, but we have two weeks of international break to work on it because if you don’t score, you don’t win.”
Geylang International FC will now look forward to their next game against Warriors FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 01st April 2016!
Full Time : Geylang International FC 0 – 0 Albirex Niigata (S) FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Syazwan Buhari
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Shariff Samat, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed, Yuki Ichikawa, Isa Halim (C), Carlos Delgado (Shawal Anuar 83’), Stanely Ng (Gabriel Quak 68’), Nor Azli Yusoff (Safirul Sulaiman 73’), Sahil Suhaimi, Branko Cubrillo
*Photos Courtesy of S.League