Eagles Fall Once Again To Stags In Eastern Derby
By Kevin Prasad on 5 August 2016
Geylang International fell prey to Tampines Rovers at the Jurong West Stadium on Thursday night, as the Eagles suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat in the feisty ‘Eastern Derby’ affair.
All three goals were netted in the first-half, as Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet settled the game for the Stags, but a late goal from Mark Hartmann for the Eagles was not enough to spark a comeback, despite waves of attack in the second-half.
Things had started out brightly for the hosts as, they signalled their intent to break the deadlock early in the game, with a ferocious shot by Hafiz Abu Sujad in the sixth minute. However, Eagles’ goalkeeper, Syazwan Buhari reacted swiftly to deny the attempt, with a fine diving save.
After dominating the early proceedings, the Stags opened the scoring in the 21st minute, courtesy of Webb’s fine solo effort. Izzidin Shafiq volleyed a clearance towards Webb in the right-wing, and the fleet-footed striker whizzed past Al-Qaasimy Rahman in a flash, before prodding past the flailing custodian, Syazwan.
The Eagles almost netted the equalizer a while later in the 29th minute, but Roberto Camarasa’s astute half-volley flashed narrowly wide of the right top-corner of the goal, despite, leaving Izwan Mahbud rooted to the ground.
Geylang would definitely rue their missed opportunity, as Tampines doubled their lead 10 minutes later. The Stags’ colossal target-man, Billy Mehmet steered in a brilliant header from inside the box, after rising highest to meet Jermaine Pennant’s pin-point delivery from a 40-yard free-kick attempt.
Tampines’ Head Coach, Akbar Nawas whom possibly thought that ‘mission accomplished’, then replaced the former Liverpool winger as a precautionary measure, and brought on Yasir Hanapi to run riot in midfield.
However, the Eagles instantly dampen the Stags’ celebrations as they pulled a goal back reduced the deficit, moments later. A long punt from the back found Shawal Anuar, whom dazzled and mazed his way into the penalty-box, before squaring a low cross towards Hartmann, whom was at the right place, right time to bang home his sixth of the campaign.
Just before the half-time, substitute Yasir had a glorious chance to extend the Stags’ lead and presumably ‘kill-off’ Geylang’s aspiration of a come-back. Nevertheless, Syazwan produced an amazing show-stopper with his finger-tips, to deny Yasir long range rocket.
After the break, Hasrin Jailani decided to throw caution in the wind and executed a triple substitution as he introduced Gabriel Quak, Sahil Suhaimi, and Daniel Bennett for Isa Halim, Shariff Samat and Al-Qaasimy, respectively.
The Eagles also converted to an offensive formation, and went all guns blazing for an elusive equalizer. Geylang came really close in attaining an equalizer in the 51st minute, through Sahil Suhaimi’s screamer from outside the box, but it was truly unfortunate that the bullet went past Izwan, but was denied by the left woodwork.
Roberto then nodded wide from Quak’s in swinging cross into the box on 66 minutes, before the latter flicked a header wide from Sahil’s teasing corner-kick, 15 minutes later.
In the 90th minute, Geylang failed to hit the target yet again, as Shawal made a timely run into the box, to meet Roberto’s knock-down header, but the former blazed his two-yard attempt well over the bar.
In the dying seconds of additional time, Hartmann then had an excellent chance to nick the equalizer, when Yasir brought down Sahil on the edge of the box, but the towering forward, could only thump his shot straight into the Stags’ wall.
Time soon expired for the luckless Eagles as they recorded their sixth league defeat of the season, despite a valiant fight till the end.
Speaking after the game, Geylang International’s Hasrin, was upset with the result and deemed that it would have been a different story, if the ball had end up in the net earlier, “We lost focus for the first goal; they had time to switch the ball to our right side. For the second goal, it’s all because of marking. With Mehmet’s height there, we should be doing much better. Apart from them, the players did not do anything wrong; they played according to my instructions to counter by the flanks. If only we could get the first goal back earlier in the game, then the result could have been different.”
Geylang International FC will now face reigning S.League champions, Brunei DPMM at Bedok Stadium on 11 August 2016, in a bid to regain their winning ways!
Full Time : Tampines Rovers FC (Jordan Webb 21’, Billy Mehmet 39’) 2 – 1 (Mark Hartmann 42’) Geylang International FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Stanely Ng
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Isa Halim (C) (Gabriel Quak 46’), Shariff Samat (Sahil Suhaimi 46’), Safirul Sulaiman, Stanely Ng, Mark Hartmann, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Daniel Bennett 46’), Shawal Anuar, Roberto Camarasa
*Photos Courtesy of S.League