Eagles made to rue missed chances in stalemate
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 1 May 2014
It proved to be another night of frustration for Geylang International as they settled for a 1-1 draw at home to Tanjong Pagar United FC. The Eagles fell behind to an early second half strike from Ruzaini Zainal but reacted positively, taking the game to the Jaguars. The pressure eventually paid off as Leonel Felice thumped home a header to salvage a point and continue the Eagles’ seven match unbeaten run.
Both teams sprung a surprise as team line-ups were announced prior to kick-off. Aliff Shafaein earned a starting berth while former Tanjong Pagar United player, Hafiz Nor, had to settle for a place on the bench. Tanjong Pagar on the other hand, gave a S.League debut to 18 year old, .K Selvendhran.
As the match kicked off, both teams started cautiously. A Hamqammal effort from a distance, was the only action to show for in the opening few minutes. But soon enough, the Eagles upped the ante, going at the Jaguars with menace. The best chance fell to Aliff Shafaien. Finding himself with only the keeper to beat, the forward spooned his effort over the bar. There was also time for Leonel Felice to send a header just inches wide off the post. As both teams headed into the dressing rooms for the half time break, the Eagles would have been rueing their missed chances in the first half. As fate would have it, the Jaguars made the home side pay, early in the second half.
Tengku Mushadad whipped in a free kick and the Eagles defence failed to clear their lines. Chancing on the opportunity, Ruzaini Zainal ghosted in to apply the finish and give the away side the lead. The initiative fell to the Eagles, as they looked to protect their unbeaten run. What followed was countless of chances that went begging.
In the 52nd minute, Geylang squandered two chances in the space of a minute. First, Ridhuan Muhammad’s header forced a save from the opposition keeper before Kento Fukuda headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Leonel Felice then rattled the crossbar with a header. Frustration aplenty from the bench but it paid off soon enough for the Eagles.
After great link up play between Yuki Ichikawa and Ridhuan Muhammad down the right flank, the ball was passed on to Aliff Shafaein. The midfielder then played a sumptuous cross into the box which was gladly met by the head of Leonel Felice. The forward thumped his header into the bottom corner to score what was the equaliser as well as his sixth goal of the season.
A visibly dejected head coach after the match was Eagles’ Jorg Steinebrunner. He said: “They broke our rhythm and that was probably their game plan.” He continued: “The goal we conceded was avoidable but we reacted well and we should have scored earlier.” He also praised Aliff Shafaein’s appearance, commenting: “He had a good game today. He was always lively and asking for the ball to do something.”
The unbeaten run for Jorg Steinebrunner’s side stretches to seven games now but on reflection, a third consecutive match where three points was perhaps the deserved outcome.
Full Time: Geylang International (83′ Leonel Felice) 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United (47′ Ruzaini Zainal)
EaglesTV Man-of-the-Match: Leonel Felice
Geylang International First 11: Joey Sim, Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Joaquin Lopez, Hamqammal Shah, Ridhuan Muhammad (C), Fabian Kwok, Franco Chivilo, Mustaqim Manzur, Aliff Shafaein, Leonel Felice