Geylang International FC

Eagles Soar To A Flying Start Against Singapore Recreation Club

11169622_1061261223888372_3745670443045467118_oGeylang International FC secured the perfect start to The New Paper (TNP) League Cup campaign by picking up three points, with a 4-0 victory over Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 23rd June 2015.

The Eagles shot to the top of TNP League Cup Group A, thanks to Bruno Castanheira’s opening goal and a fantastic showing from hat-trick hero Hafiz Nor, whom completed the rout just before the half-time interval.

The National Football League (NFL) Division 1 current leaders, SRC  were determined to create a potential upset against the Eagles, as the squad boasted the likes of former S.League players such as, Shariff Samat, Faliq Sudhir, Firman Hanif and Precious Emuejeraye in their ranks.

However, the semi-professional side were outplayed by their S.League counterpart from start to finish, as Geylang got into gear to break the deadlock as early as the ninth minute.

Eagles’ Tatsuro Inui dribbled past his marker before swinging in a sumptuous cross, which gave Bruno Castanheira, enough time to steer his header into the back of the net, to establish a 1-0 lead.

A minute after the restart, the Eagles regained possession and dispatched a delicious ball from defence towards Hafiz Nor. The nippy winger latched onto the pass and then raced towards the SRC’s penalty-box. The speedster was encouraged to shoot by his team-mates upon entering the box, but with great composure, he side-stepped the SRC’s custodian with a feint, and fired home to double Geylang’s lead.

Despite being two goals behind, SRC started to grow into the game as they exchanged passes and attempted to dominate ball possession, but an absence of cutting edge was regularly evident as Geylang intercepted most of their offensive plays.

In the 20th minute, there was one moment which got the SRC fans off their seats as they were presented with a rare chance at goal with Faliq Sudhir pouncing onto a loose rebound inside the Eagles’ penalty-box. However, the SRC captain blazed his volley effort over the bar from close range.

That dreadful miss would haunt the 2014 Singapore FA Cup champions, SRC as Geylang extended their lead to 3-0, minutes later. Hafiz Nor picked up a loose ball from about 30 odd yards, he then dribbled his way past three SRC defenders, before releasing a sublime finish into the bottom corner of the net, to double his goal tally.

With the first-half coming to a close, there was still time for one more goal. And once again, it was none other than, Hafiz Nor.

Eagles’ defender Hafiz Osman’s played a beautiful defence-splitting pass into the penalty-box towards Hafiz Nor, who then completed his hat-trick with a brilliant flick, past Shaiful Nizam from a difficult angle.

With the score-line at 4-0, many expected and desired more goals to rain from either side in the second-half. However, it was actually a tamer affair in terms of scoring and attacking. Geylang had numerous chances at goal but the Eagles just could not convert their attempts to add to the four-goal winning margin, due to their poor finishing in the attacking third.

The best chance for Eagles to widen the lead, fell to Yuki Ichikawa in the 52nd minute. Tatsuro Inui floated in a delightful free-kick from the edge of the box, but Yuki Ichikawa failed to keep his header on target as the effort sailed well above the SRC’s goal.

On the other hand, SRC still failed to test or threaten Yazid Yazin in the opposing goal, as most of their ‘route one’ efforts from the back were brilliantly dealt by Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda and Nor Azli or either scorched off-target.

With time expiring, SRC’s Anders Aplin has the last bite of the cherry as he tries his luck from distance and fires a rocket from 30 yards out. Unfortunately, it was not SRC’s day as the hopeful effort went sky-high and minutes later, the referee blew for the final whistle to conclude the game.

Geylang’s Head Coach Jorg Steinebrunner, was pleased with the win and shared, “I believed that we could have scored two or three more goals, but we got what we came for and that is, three points. I am also contented that we concluded the match with a clean sheet, no bookings and no injuries.”

The  43-year-old German also commented, “I am very happy that Hafiz Nor is on the score sheet and with a hat-trick too. According to me, with Hafiz’s mature finishes like tonight, he is certainly, one of the dangerous players in the league, if he keeps it simple.”

Elsewhere in the other Group A fixture, it was a different story for reigning League Cup champions, Brunei DPMM, as they suffered a 1-0 defeat in the hands of a new-look and rejuvenated Hougang United side.

Geylang International FC will now face Hougang United FC at Hougang Stadium on 27 June 2015, in the second round of the Group A fixtures.

With the same character and commitment, the Eagles might be able to soar high and claw a victory against the Cheetahs.

Full Time : Geylang International FC (Bruno Castanheira 9’, Hafiz Nor 12’, 23’, 45’) 4 – 0 Singapore Recreation Club

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Hafiz Nor

Geylang International FC: Yazid Yazin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Huzaifah Aziz 68′), Nor Azli Yusoff, Mustaqim Manzur (Khairulnizam Jumahat 60′), Tatsuro Inui (Shawal Anuar 84′), Jozef Kaplan (C) , Hafiz Nor, Bruno Castanheira


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