Eagles Falter Against Stags In Eastern Derby
By Kevin Prasad on 22 April 2016
Geylang International’s Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League title aspirations hit a snag as they were handed a 1-0 defeat in the “Eastern Derby” fixture, by Tampines Rovers FC on Thursday evening at the Bedok Stadium.
The only goal of the game came in the 28th minute when Yasir Hanapi opened the scoring and sealed the win for the Stags, by cleverly stabbing home the ball into net, from close range.
Despite missing wing wizard, Sahil Suhaimi through injury, Head Coach Hasrin Jailani’s charges were still determined to end their run of unfortunate draw results and etch a wining start to the ‘Round 2’ fixtures.
With the match billed as the ‘Eastern Derby’, 2369 spectators were present to witness the tight encounter between the Eastern giants of Singapore. With both sets of fans boisterously supporting their respective colours, the atmosphere was overwhelming and certainly, one not be missed.
With young starlet, Amy Recha, spearheading the frontline, the Eagles started the match with much fire and caused panic to the Tampines’ defence in the opening minutes.
After a while, the Stags slowly dominated the proceeding with multiple attempts on targets, including a Jordan Webb header and Billy Mehmet’s half-volley from close range.
Soon later, Geylang’s defence crumbled as Tampines broke the deadlock. Billy chested down a long range pass and set up Hafiz Sujad on the left with an incisive pass. Hafiz then raced towards the by-line, before launching a low cross towards Yasir, whom prodded the ball past the hapless, Syazwan Buhari.
While there was not much goalmouth action soon after, the middle of the park saw intense challenges and crunching tackles between Eagles’ midfield dynamos and Tampines’ prized player, Jermaine Pennant.
Both sides enthusiastically, stamped their authority in midfield, denying a smooth passage through to the final third for either side till the half-time whistle.
After the break, both sides were unable to string passes together to create any notable goal scoring opportunities, as both sides were jockeying for possession.
Nevertheless, the men in green and white, could have pulled level in the 58th minute, when Safirul Sulaiman released a stinging free-kick towards goal, but instead it landed straight into the gloves of Tampines custodian Izwan Mahbud
Trailing by a goal, the Eagles introduced the Ying and Yang twins (Gabriel Quak and Stanely Ng) for Isa Halim and Branko Cubrilo, respectively, in a bid to turn up the heat and search of the desired equalizer.
Still unable to find the elusive equaliser, the hosts brought on Shariff Samat for Al-Qaasimy Rahman and pushed up towering defender, Yuki Ichikawa into an unorthodox position, as the main striker.
The lanky Japanese did cause trouble against the Tampines’ defence with his aerial prowess in winning headers. Unfortunately, those attacks did not yield any positive results as they were met with fierce resistance from the Stags’ skipper, Mustafic Fahrudin and glovesman, Izwan.
Over at the other end, the visitors could have doubled their lead in the 87th minute, but Jermaine’s long range free-kick slammed against the top-right of the crossbar and crashed out of play.
Geylang had a final chance to restore parity in stoppage time, when Carlos launched a feisty pile driver at goal from outside the box, but Izwan recovered in time to save the shot after spilling his initial catch, which almost crossed the goal-line.
With that, the final whistle blew and Geylang suffered their second defeat of the season, but will be looking to bounce back and soar to greater heights, in the upcoming games.
Speaking after the game, Hasrin was filled with mixed emotions about the result, “It all comes down to a four-letter word – L-U-C-K. We don’t have that at the moment and we have to keep working hard to turn things around,” said the 40-year-old Eagles’ alumni.
The former Singapore international also added, “We played well in the second-half with two strikers upfront because we were chasing the game and Tampines were not creating any chances to score.”
Geylang International FC will now pay a visit to Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei to face the lethal Wasps aka Brunei DPMM FC on 29th April 2016.
Full Time: Geylang International FC 0 – 1 [Yasir Hanapi 28’] Tampines Rovers FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Safirul Sulaiman
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Shariff Samad 89′), Isa Halim (C) (Gabriel Quak 52′), Safirul Sulaiman, Carlos Delgado, Shawal Anuar, Amy Recha, Branko Cubrilo (Stanely Ng 70′)
*Photos Courtesy of S.League