Eagles rally to draw against title contenders Brunei DPMM
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 28 March 2014
Yuki Ichikawa scores the first goal for the Eagles.
Geylang International FC staged a spirited performance as they held S.League title contenders Brunei DPMM FC to a 1-1 draw at the Bedok Stadium. Starting together with Japanese compatriot Kento Fukuda for the first time, Yuki Ichikawa capped off a brilliant individual performance with the opener but Brunei DPMM hit back straight away through a Rodrigo Tosi header. Geylang went in search of the winning goal but were unfortunate not to nick all three points.
The match got off to a sombre start, with both teams failing to excite the watching fans. Both sides looked to take control but were unable to get better of each other in possession. It didn’t help that the starting period of the match was littered with fouls in what was a stop start opening 10 minutes. It was one such foul that led to the opening goal for Geylang International.
After a foul on a Geylang International player, Hamqaamal Shah stepped up to take the resulting free kick for the Eagles. Looking to come out and gather the ball, Brunei DPMM’s custodian Wardun Yussof completely fluffed his attempt and Yuki Ichikawa was the fortunate one who poked the ball into an empty net to give the home side a shock lead.
Rodrigo Tosi rose highest to nod the ball into the net past Geylang International goalkeeper, Joey Sim.
The delight for the Eagles was short lived though, as Brunei DPMM hit straight back. In similar fashion to the home side’s goal, the team from Brunei benefitted from a set piece situation. As a freekick from outside the box was curled in, Rodrigo Tosi rose highest to nod the ball into the net past Geylang International goalkeeper, Joey Sim.
Geylang International continued to look threatening at set pieces. A corner whipped in by Mustaqim Manzur fell at the feet of Joaquin Lopez who in turn had an effort with a deft touch of his left foot. His effort, though could only find the side netting.
As the half drew to a close, both teams went into the changing rooms deadlocked at 1-1.
The second half was much like the first half as both teams strived to get the better of each other, with Geylang International looking the more dangerous side. After a decent spell of possession early in the half, a decent chance arrived for the home side.
Receiving the ball on the left flank, tricky winger Hafiz Nor cut in and fired a shot towards goal. Amidst the shrieks from Geylang International supporters, the ball went just wide of the goal.
Another solid performance by Leonel Felice.
One man doing all the running on the night was Leonel Felice. The tireless forward received countless of blows from the Brunei DPMM players with the worse challenge coming in the 63rd minute as he received a kick on the chest. The Argentinean however, did not take too long to get back on his feet and soldiered on to finish the game.
With time running out for either team to gain advantage, Geylang International and Hafiz Nor in particular were left to rue what was their best chance of the match. On the counter, Captain Ridhuan Muhammad received the ball and in trademark fashion, blitzed down the right flank before his cross found Hafiz Nor. The latter though, made an unconvincing first touch and failed to get the ball under control.
There was to be one last drama as Brunei DPMM looked to clinch a victory in added time. With only the keeper to beat, Roy O’ Donovan would have thought he was going to be a match winner .But Joey Sim judged the situation perfectly and foiled the Brunei forward’s attempt brilliantly.
After the match, Eagles’ head coach Jorg Steinebrunner was pleased with his team’s effort. Describing the result as a positive one, he said: “Our energy levels were very good today and we saw what our team is capable of today. ”
Post-Match Interview with Coach Jorg Steinebrunner.
Coach Jorg also addressed his team’s progress. “One week ago we had zero points and now we have four points and if anyone had said we were going to match DPMM today, it would have surprised many people a week ago,” He said.
Two consecutive matches unbeaten for the Eagles and their climb back to the higher regions of the league table continues to gather pace under new coach Jorg Steinebrunner.
FINAL SCORE: Geylang International FC (17′ Yuki Ichikawa) 1–1 Brunei DPMM FC 1 (21′ Rodrigo Tosi)
Geylang International Team Line Up: Joey Sim, Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Joaquin Lopez, Hamqammal Shah (76’ Jalal Jasim), Hafiz Nor (75’ Aliff Shafaein), Franco Chivilo, Shah Hirul, Mustaqim Manzur, Ridhuan Muhammad, Leonel Felice