Geylang International FC

Eagles prevail in the Eastern Derby


Geylang International produced a monumental result as they triumphed over rivals and defending champions Tampines Rovers in the Eastern Derby at the Jalan Besar Stadium. The 1-0 win came after Yuki Ichikawa’s cross somehow found its way into the net with Tampines debutant Justin Pasfield made to rue his error.

Going into the match off the back of a 5-1 mauling of Woodlands Wellington in the Singapore Cup, morale was high amongst the squad as they marched out for warm up. With an obvious spring in their steps, the Eagles went about their warm up with the eagerness for a good result. As Captain Ridhuan had said before the match, “With the squad we have, I am optimistic and I want us to grab all three points.”

The first half saw both sides failing to grasp the early initiative with neither side testing the goal keepers in the opening 30 minutes. It took 37 minutes for the Eagles to carve out the first real opening of the match.

Leonel Felice set Ridhuan Muhammad away with a well-timed pass. But the Geylang captain’s shot was palmed away by the Tampines goalkeeper. As the referee blew for the half time break, both sides left much to be desired.

The second half started in stark contrast to the first half as both sides looked to give a better account of themselves. After a great move down the left flank, the ball fell nicely for Aliff Shafaein. The former Stag player’s shot however forced a great save from Justin Pasfield in the Tampines goal. If the watching fans thought the Australian was having a blinder for his debut with some excellent saves, it was all to change with Siddiq Durimi’s brilliance taking the glow off the Tampines man.

First, as Jozef Kaplan cut in from the left flank, the former Geylang captain fired towards goal. Siddiq Durimi however, had other ideas producing a quality save to keep the ball out. Moments later, it was Siddiq winning the battle with Kaplan again as he kept out another long ranger from Kaplan. Siddiq, saved the best for Tampines’ striker Noh Alam Shah. As the ball broke to the former Singapore international, Siddiq Durmi produced an instinctive double save to deny the striker.

Eagles head coach Jorg Steinebrunner brought on Shah Hirul for Franco Chivilo and it seemed Geylang International were prepared to settle for a draw. But in calamitous fashion, the Eagles took a shock lead. When Yuki Ichikawa swung a cross in, it seemed there was no danger especially with no player in green and white stripes making an effort to get near the cross. But, the Tampines custodian somehow dropped the cross into his own net sparking wild scenes of celebration among the Eagles supporters in the stands.

Post-match, Jorg Steinebrunner was a proud man. Speaking to EAGLES TV, he lavished praise on his team: “First of all I need to give a big compliment to my players and coaching staff. ”

He continued: “We had good ball possession and showed tremendous hard work. It was a very good step forward.”

The German was also elated with the clean sheet. He rang praises of Siddiq saying, “Siddiq played well against Woodlands and he was outstanding today. Players come in and making the difference really makes me very happy. I am happy to see that we have two good goalkeepers.”

Full Time: Geylang International (85′ Yuki Ichikawa) 1-0 Tampines Rovers

EAGLES TV Man Of The Match: Siddiq Durimi

Geylang International XI: Siddiq Durimi, Khairulnizam Jumahat (62′ Hamqammal Shah), Kento Fukuda, Yuki Ichikawa, Joaquin Lopez, Ridhuan Muhammad (C), Fabian Kwok, Franco Chivilo (80′ Shah Hirul), Mustaqim Manzur, Aliff Shafaein (60′ Hafiz Nor), Leonel Felice

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