Eagles Rescue A Point Against Rhinos
By Kevin Prasad on 11 March 2017
Geylang International overcame the odds to fight back for a 1-1 draw against Warriors FC at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Friday night.
The Rhinos had taken the lead through a Kento Fukuda header in the second-half, but the Costa Rican forward saved the Eagles’ blushes with a timely equalizer inside the box, to ensure both sides shared the spoils.
The visitors got off to a good start and should have taken the lead in the opening minutes.
Min Thi Ha was first to trouble the Warriors’ defence with a half-volley from outside the box, but it glanced wide of the goal. Three minutes later, Victor Coto was guilty for not putting the Eagles ahead, as the striker almost rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into an empty net. However, Warriors’ goalkeeper Basil Chan produced a quick reflex save to deny the former.
Another chance went begging five minutes later, as Safirul Sulaiman exchanged a neat ‘one-two’ pass with Victor, before rifling a shot, which sailed narrowly over the bar.
Despite the dominant display by the Eagles, the Rhinos almost nicked the opener through a swerving free-kick attempt by Sharil Ishak, which forced Syazwan into an outstretched save to parry the attempt away for a corner-kick.
After that one attempt, the momentum swung towards Warriors as their latest signing, Joel Tshibamba was next on line to register an attempt on goal. The Dutch-Congolese out jumped Syazwan and steered a header towards goal. Nevertheless, the diligent Yuki Ichikawa was quick to hack the ball away to safety.
The last chance of the half, fell for Jordan Webb as he mazed his way past the Eagles defence and round Syazwan before releasing a shot. But then, Al-Qaasimy was ever-alert and acrobatically cleared the attempt.
The ‘greenwhitearmy’ then made two substitutions to adopt an offensive approach by replacing Thi Ha and Taufiq Ghani with Gabriel Quak and Amy Recha respectively.
They came out fighting after the interval, but against the run of play, the Rhinos drew first blood in the 55th minute, when Fukuda blazed the ball into the net after a flick-on from another Sharil’s curving free-kick.
Warriors almost doubled their lead, five minutes later through Hafiz Nor’s amazing volley from an acute angle, but it slammed against the side-netting instead.
Down by a goal, the Eagles pushed up the numbers and almost got their reward in the 73th minute when Shawal Anaur, executed a jaw-dropping ‘bicycle-kick’ goal. Nevertheless, much to the disappointment, the almost ‘Goal of the Season’, was ruled out by the assistant referee’s offside flag.
Geylang got their reward – the elusive equalizer in the 77th minute, when Shawal flicked a long ball into the path of Victor, who did the rest by checking inside his man before firing past Basil Chan, to record his first-ever S.League goal.
The game could have gone either way thereafter but the Eagles looked the more likely to get all three points.
Gabriel latched onto a lofted pass and was unmarked in the box. The winger then rounded the goalkeeper, but fired agonizingly wide of the goal.
The match eventually ended as a draw, which was a fair reflection of the proceedings. Both sides are now locked on four points apiece, with Warriors a spot ahead of Geylang in third due to better goal difference.
Speaking after the game, Head Coach Hasrin Jailani, was filled with mixed emotions about his players, “We played well in the first half; the game plan was to press them in their own half and we did that very well. The first 15 minutes of the second half was not so good; Warriors were in control and scored, but their only threat was from set pieces.”
The former Singapore international also added, “It’s definitely two points lost for us and I think it is a bit disappointing to get a point, especially when we had the chances, but just could not finish it off. Nevertheless happy for Victor to break the duck, with his first ever goal in the S.League and for the Eagles.”
Geylang International FC will play hosts to the ‘Eastern Derby’ and entertain Tampines Rovers at Bedok Stadium 08th April 2017.
Full Time: Warriors FC [Kento Fukuda 55’] 1 – 1 [Victor Coto 77’] Geylang International FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Yuki Ichikawa
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Isa Halim (C), Faritz Hameed, Safirul Sulaiman, Victor Coto, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Shawal Anuar, Taufiq Ghani (Amy Recha 46’), Min Tin Ha (Gabriel Quak 46’)
*Photos Courtesy of S.League