Eagles Soar to Victory!
By Eagles Admin on 1 August 2012
July 31 2012 – Playing the first match of the Starhub League Cup, the Eagles trounced the Tigers to a 3-1 victory at Toa Payoh stadium last evening to make it through to the Quarter-Finals. The Eagles went to this match with much confidence as the last time the Eagles met Balestier Khalsa in March, they manage to win by a two goal margin.
Making several changes to the line-up, Coach Kanan gave starts to second-choice keeper Ridhuan Barudin and Prime League boys Fabian Kwok and Nuhazawan. These changes proved to be Coach Kanan’s trump cards as the boys repaid his faith with excellent performances on the pitch.
Once the first whistle of the match blew, the Eagles wasted no time in attacking the Tigers’ reguard. Within 5 minutes into the match, a free-kick was won at the edge of the Tigers’ penalty box after a clumsy tackle by Balestier’s defence. However, Michael King could only send the resulting free kick sailing above the cross bar.
On 14 minutes, GUFC conjured their next attack after Ang Zhi Wei did well to dribble pass two defenders to lay off the ball for Michael King. Under pressure from the Balestier’s defense, Michael King could only direct his shot above the cross bar.
Nevertheless, after countless of attacks, the Eagles finally managed to put the ball into the net in the 18th minute. Having been the pinnacle of so many of GUFC’s attacking play this season, Stefan Milojevic again shrugged of two defenders before releasing Michael King into to the flank with a well-timed pass.
Michael King then instinctively followed up Milojevic’s through ball with a cunning low cross to find Shah Hirul at the edge of the penalty box after the Balestier’s defence couldn’t make a firm clearance. Having been caught in surprise by Michael King’s cross, the Balestier’s defence then rushed to make up for lost space and cover Shah Hirul’s attempt to shoot.
Instead of unleashing a shot, the defensive midfielder then fooled the Balestier’s defence again by placing a perfect through pass to Jozef Kaplan who then slot the ball pass the despairing Zakariah Nerani.
However on 26 minutes, it was Balestier’s time to strike. Making several passes outside of the Eagles’ penalty box, the defenders was soon caught flat footed after Zulkiffi Hassim played a sudden through ball to Kim Min Ho. The forward wasted no time in blasting the ball pass Ridhuan Barudin to equalize for the Tigers.
On 40 minutes, Balestier had the chance to transform their initial deficit into a lead. A beautiful cross at the opposing flank found one of the Tigers’ strikers but he could only shoot the ball into the sky.
While Balestier missed their opportunity, the Eagles seized it.
2 minutes later, Michael King provided the initiative of the attack by lobbing the ball to Jozef Kaplan at the corner of the penalty box. With the game awareness of a top class forward, Kaplan instinctively lob the ball behind his own head after sensing Nurhazawan lurking behind him. With the goal glaring, Nurhazawan took the opportunity with both hands and shot low and hard into the goal to give the Eagles the lead into half time.
Going into second half, the Eagles starved their opposition with majority of the game preventing them for making any substantial attacks.
Michael King then made it 3-1 on 65 minutes after Stefan Milojevic played a brilliant through ball down the byline for the former Burnley midfielder to ram the ball into the net.
After King’s goal, Balestier started finally stepped up a gear and were unfortunate not to be able to at least pull a goal back after some luckless finishing.
Jaslee Hatta directed a header wide on 79 minutses and Kim Min Ho shot high and wide after Zulkiffli found him with a brilliant cross from outside the box.
With that, the Eagles has qualified for the Quarter-Finals of the League Cup! Eagles will now host Albriex Niigata (S) at Bedok Stadium on 2nd August, Thursday.
Well done Eagles!
Pictures can be found here!