Geylang International FC

Eagles Award Noor Ali With His First Victory

After two previous draws in regulation time, Geylang International returned to winning ways on Sunday night at Jalan Besar Stadium as the Eagles walk away 2-1 victors against the feisty Garena Young Lions.

Victory tasted sweeter for Caretaker Coach Noor Ali, as he was handed his first ‘three points’ in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League with the Eagles.

Amy Recha’s successful spot-kick conversion and Victor Coto’s volley in the second-half was enough to award Geylang another win and propel the Eagles into 5th place, despite a late consolation goal by Young Lions’ defender, Amirul Adli .

The game was pretty even with both sides trying to find their feet and rhythm early.

The ‘greenwhitearmy’ were comfortable in possession and build-up play from the back, but could not complete the transition at the final third with precise finishing in front of goal.

Shawal Anuar had Geylang’s first sight of goal inside 10 minutes of the game when he wriggled his way to the near post from the right-flank, but scoffed his shot just inches away from the left-hand post.

Soon later in the 13th minute, Gabriel Quak latched onto Ricardo Sendra’s delightful through ball and was allowed to sprint into the box with ease. However, the winger’s attempt at goal sailed high and wide.

The Young Lions came close themselves in the 28th minute when Taufik Suparno raced his way into the 18-yard box and took a crack at goal with a half-volley, but Geylang’s Anders Aplin threw his body on the line and executed an acrobatic block to deny the shot on target.

The hosts continued to threaten and could have gone into the break with the lead when Shawal was played through on goal by an intelligent pass by Gabriel in the final minute of the first-half, but the shot ended up in the side-netting instead.

Despite the good form and attacking momentum by Geylang, it was the Singapore developmental side that began the second period on the front foot. The Young Lions almost broke the deadlock on two separate occasions within the space of five minutes.

First, Taufik mazed his way past a sea of defenders and unleashed a belter from distance, but Syazwan Buhari was on par with an amazing diving save. A few moments later, Rusyaidi Salime struck a 30-yard free-kick which beat the flying Syazwan, but fortunately, the attempt was denied by the crossbar.

That incident certainly woke up the Eagles and the Bedok-based club then started to take over the game. With time expiring and the score still goalless, Geylang pressed forward and started to apply pressure from the offensive third.

The tactical change almost reaped its dividends in the 58th minute, when a presentable opportunity arrived to open the scoring. Shawal once again was in the thick of action, as he pounced on a loose ball in the six-yard box and hammered a volley at goal. However, the ball slammed against the left-hand post and crashed out of play.

A minute later, Ricardo could have put the Eagles ahead with a bullet free-kick into the top left-corner, but Young Lions’ custodian, Zharfan produced a top-notch save to withhold the Eagles’ celebrations.

Stanely Ng was then introduced for Shahfiq Ghani at the hour mark, but the former was forced to retreat within three minutes, as he was stretchered off with a dislocated elbow and fractured forearm after an one-on-one situation with Zharfan.

Amy Recha, was then tasked with spearheading the Eagles’ front-line as he checked in for the injured Stanely. A few seconds after the substitution, Gabriel was then tripped in the box after a fine solo run, and the referee pointed to spot, without any hesitation in the 67th minute.

The substitute, Amy then stepped up with nerves of steel to drill home the penalty right under the flailing Zharfan, to not only give the Eagles the well-deserved lead but also break his goal scoring duck for 2017, with his first-touch of the game.

Geylang then relentlessly pressed forward in search of another goal, to possibly ‘kill’ the game off and accomplished the task nine minutes later, as Victor raised the roof with a stunning volley from close range, after a smart run to meet Gabriel’s pin-point cross.

Despite a two-goal deficit, the Young Lions managed to dig deep and pull a goal back in the 82nd minute with Amirul’s diving header, after a weak clearance by Faritz Hameed from Hami Syahin’s corner-kick.

The Singapore U-23s could have levelled matters in the dying seconds of the game, but substitute Ikhsan Fandi rifled his volley inside the box over the bar, much to the relief of the Eagles’ fans and dug-out, as the final whistle was blown moments later.

Speaking after the game, Noor Ali admitted it was indeed a tough game, “It was a hard-fought win; it was not easy playing against a young, aggressive and fast team, three days after playing Tampines. The first half was not too good, but we came out after the break, with better link-up play and moved the ball faster in the second half.”

The 42-year-old also added, “Moving on next week, it is The New Paper League Cup and the only thing now is to work on our finishing because quality teams will punish us if we do not finish off our chances.”

Geylang International FC will now look forward to their next game against Balestier Khalsa FC at the Toa Payoh Stadium on 08th July 2017!

Full Time: Geylang International FC [Amy Recha {PEN} 68’, Victor Coto 76’] 2 – 1 [Amirul Adli 82’] Garena Young Lions FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Anders Aplin                                  

Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Yuki Ichikawa, Anders Aplin, Safirul Sulaiman, Gabriel Quak, Ricardo Sendra, Isa Halim (C), Victor Coto, Shahfiq Ghani (Stanely Ng 60’, Amy Recha 65’), Shawal Anuar (Ifwat Ismail 83’)

*Photos Courtesy of S.League

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