Eagles Soar High & Turn The Tide Against Warriors
By Andrew Ang on 15 October 2016
Geylang International pulled off a sensational comeback victory to defeat Warriors 2-1 at Bedok Stadium on Thursday night.
Fazli Jaffar had opened the scoring early in the second half for the Rhinos, but Amy Recha and Sahil Suhaimi each struck in a three-minute span to turn the game around for the Eagles.
The emphatic win and three points now lifts Geylang’s AFC Cup chances, as they closed in within a point of the current second-highest local team, Hougang United FC
The hosts came out firing from the start and were fully focused on clinching the early lead in front of their fans at the Eagles’ Nest.
Just two minutes into the game, Sahil grazed the roof of the net with a vicious shot, whilst ten minutes later, Shahfiq Ghani’s splendid free-kick was palmed away by Warriors’ custodian, Yazid Yazin.
At the half-hour mark, Amy latched onto Sahil’s intelligent lofted pass and the former unleashed a blistering volley, which stung the palms of Yazid.
Three minutes later, Geylang’s goalkeeper was called into action, as Syazwan Buhari produced two back-to-back magnificent saves to deny Warriors’ Jonathan Behe and Ridhuan Muhammad, an opening goal.
Amy had a wonderful chance to put his side in front as he was released by Shawal Anuar on the left-wing, but the dashing goal-poacher was declined once again, by Yazid’s reflexes.
The best chance of the lot, was on the stroke of half-time, as Sahil dazzled his way past the ‘sea of blue’ and discharged a stunning shot, but veteran Yazid saved the Rhinos’ blushes with a terrific finger-tip stop.
The Eagles came out after the break attacking with intent, but continued to be denied after the restart, as Shahfiq Ghani’s 25-yard free kick smashed against the right-hand post on the 50th minute mark.
However, against the run of play and despite Geylang dominating the proceedings, Warriors then broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. Ridhuan Muhammad’s visionary deep cross found an unmarked Fazli at the back-post and the latter, deftly rifled a volley into bottom right corner, for his second goal of the season.
Soon later in the 66th minute, the game was then halted for an hour due to the Lightning Warning System (LWS) being switched on.
The inconsequential and temporary break, actually was a ‘lifeline’ to Eagles’ Head Coach, Hasrin Jailani, whom had extra time to make some tactical alterations, as he threw on Anders Aplin and Mark Hartmann, to launch his ‘all-out attack’ contingency plan.
After the restart, Geylang threw more bodies forward in search of the elusive equaliser and achieved their reward, in less than 10 minutes. In the 73rd minute, Sahil delivered a peach of a cross from a corner-kick, and Amy rose the highest to glance a header into the net.
With the tempo and momentum swinging in Geylang’s direction, things got even better in the 77th minute for the Eagles. A moment of magic by Sahil turned the tide and raised the roof in Bedok, as his rocket free-kick found the bottom corner, despite a hapless dive by Yazid.
After losing the lead, the Rhinos then converted from a defensive wall into a wrecking ball as they tried to restore parity with multiple attempts on goal. Jonathan had a wonderful opportunity to pull level on the 84th minute, but the French striker’s volley sailed narrowly high of the goal, despite being only a few yards out.
With the clock ticking down, Geylang then held on for an inspiring victory, which certainly would be encouraging towards their last two fixtures, as the Eagles battle for the AFC Cup spot against Home United and Hougang.
Speaking after the game, Geylang International’s Head Coach Hasrin Jailani, was satisfied and delighted with the triumph, “We knew that a draw is not good and a loss would put us as good as out of the equation to qualify for AFC Cup. The ‘fortunate’ break (due to LWS) was a lifeline given to us, as we had time to re-group and tweak our formation. We threw three upfront and thankfully it worked for us.”
Geylang International FC will now have a tricky tie with Cheetahs of Hougang United FC, at Hougang Stadium on 20th October 2016, as the Eagles are desperate to extend their winning streak and also put one hand on the AFC Cup qualification berth.
Full-Time: Geylang International FC (Amy Recha 73’, Sahil Suhaimi 77’) 2 – 1 (Fazli Jaffar 52’) Warriors FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Amy Recha
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Isa Halim (C), Shariff Samat, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed, Shahfiq Ghani (Mark Hartmann 66’), Amy Recha, Nor Azli Yusoff (Gabriel Quak 64’), Shawal Anuar (Anders Aplin 66’), Sahil Suhaimi
*Photos Courtesy of S.League