Geylang International FC

Eagles Get Stung By Wasps’ Determination In TNP League Cup

A dramatic game between Brunei DPMM and Geylang International at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night ended with a 3-3 score line, as both sides shared the spoils and qualified for The New Paper League Cup 2017 Semi-Finals stage, with the Eagles finishing second in Group B.

Geylang could have easily topped the group as the Eagles could have make it three wins out of three games as they led DPMM 3-1 with 20 minutes left to play. However, the Wasps came from two goals down and equalized before the final whistle, to ensure they finished as Group B winners, with a superior goal difference than the Eagles, despite being levelled on seven points.

After a convincing 4-1 victory over Tampines Rovers few days ago, in which secured the ‘Bedok-based’ club’s passage to the next round, the Eagles rotated their squad and handed starts to five Prime League players, Ifwat Ismail, Noor Ariff, Alfian Jamari, Justin Sim and Haziq Raheem.

Despite a senior team call-up, the young starlets from Geylang, showed nerves of steel and composure to fend off the big boys of DPMM throughout the night. Despite the valiant performance in the opening stages, the Wasps however opened the scoring in the 20th minute through Adi Said, whom brought down Azwan Saleh’s long punt with his chest, before curling a blistering left-footed shot into the top corner.

Nevertheless, Geylang erased the jubilant mood of the Bruneians, just three minutes later as the Eagles conjured an equalizer. Noor Ariff was handed the ‘dead-ball specialist’ role for the Eagles all night, and the diminutive midfielder’s free-kick delivery was spot on as Victor Coto flicked on a header into the back of the net.

Adi was a constant menace to the Eagles’ defence, and could have allowed DPMM to take the lead, before half-time. Thankfully, Geylang escaped the first-half with a huge sigh of relief, as the seasoned striker scoffed his shot from close range, after pouncing on Haziq’s half clearance in the box.

Geylang Head Coach, Noor Ali’s pep talk at half-time obviously had a significant effect on his charges as the Eagles came out of the tunnel roaring, and took the lead for the first time with the boisterous cheers of their ‘greenwhitearmy’ supporters.

Ricardo Sendra got his name on the score sheet four minutes after the break, as he latched onto a loose ball outside the box and unleashed a belter which crashed against the woodwork past Mu’izzuddin, before hitting the back of the net.

Noor had a wonderful chance to extend the lead in the 57th minute, after Ifwat mazed his way past two Bruneians before teeing up the midfield maestro. However, the former toe-poked his shot way wide, despite being only yards away from goal.

Nevertheless there was no stopping Geylang from making it 3-1 as Taufiq Ghani converted a successful spot-kick in the 67th minute, after Hazwan Hamzah had allegedly been penalized for a hand-ball, after Faritz hit a volley from distance.

Geylang’s joy at taking the lead were short-lived though as Maududi Hilmi Kasmi pulled a goal back two minutes later. The fleet-footed winger, got onto the end of Shahrazen’s deep cross and hammered an outer-foot strike into the left corner, leaving Syazwan rooted to the ground.

With a goal down, Steve Kean altered DPMM’s formation by pushing forward numbers into the offensive third, in search of the elusive equalizer. The Wasps could have done so in the 78th minute but Syazwan’s flying finger-tip save denied Shahrazen’s pile-driver from distance, which was destined for the top right corner.

Unfortunately, lady luck shone bright on DPMM as they accomplished and completed their come-back with an unforced error by Geylang. The Wasps achieved their equalizer in the 85th minute through substitute Helmi Zambin, as a clearance from Yuki Ichikawa came off the chest of the former, before sailing past the hapless Syazwan.

With the scores levelled, DPMM then had to endure a late onslaught from the designated visitors in the closing stages, with Noor Ariff and substitute Anders Aplin seeing their efforts kept out by Mu’izzuddin, as both teams had to settle for a point each.

The semi-finals will now see Geylang take on holders Albirex Niigata (S), while DPMM face Warriors FC with both matches being played on Tuesday, 18 July.

Speaking after the game, Hasrin Jailani, whom was delighted with the way his players played, despite fielding a side with some Prime League players, “I was pleased with the result as this was a game about giving the Prime League players a chance. It’s good to see players really stepping up, which shows that there is a good future for Singapore football.”

Full Time: Brunei DPMM FC (Adi Said 20’, Maududi Hilmi Kasmi 69’, Helmi Zambin 84’) 3 – 3 (Victor Coto 23’, Ricardo Sendra 49’, Taufiq Ghani {Pen} 67’) Geylang International FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Noor Ariff

Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed (C), Justin Sim, Yuki Ichikawa, Haziq Raheem (Anders Aplin 86’), Alfian Jamari, Taufiq Ghani (Nor Azli Yusoff 68’), Ricardo Sendra, Noor Ariff, Victor Coto, Ifwat Ismail (Amy Recha 80’)

*Photos Courtesy of S.League

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