Eagles thump Woodlands to reach the Quarter-finals
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 28 May 2014
Speaking to EAGLES TV ahead of the Singapore Cup Preliminary round tie against Woodlands Wellington FC, the Eagles’ head coach Jorg Steinebrunner had fired a warning. He said: “We have not been finishing our chances but we will put it right and be more clinical.”
Clinical they were, as Geylang International emphatically swept aside the Rams to register a convincing 5-1 victory at the Woodlands Stadium effectively sending the Eagles into the quarter-finals of the competition.
Fabian Kwok and Joaquin Lopez returned to the starting line-up as Siddiq Durimi, celebrating his birthday, started in goal for the away side. And, the birthday boy had to be alert in the opening stages as Woodlands tested his mettle. Siddiq, however had great positioning to thank for as he comfortably gathered shots from Chang Jo-Yoon and Soon Ho-Moon.
The Eagles’ first real effort on goal proved to be the opener, and more than that a strike to remember for ages. As Mustaqim’s free kick was headed away by the Woodlands’ defence, many would have thought the Rams had cleared their lines. But, Geylang International’s Khairulnizam Jumahat had other ideas. The right back let rip from almost 50 yards out as he hit a scorcher that flew past Yazid Yasin in goal. The Eagles were 1-0 up and it was goals galore from then on.
Soon, it was 2-0 to the away side. Controlling a flighted ball on the left flank with precision was Mustaqim Manzur. With a look up, he found Leonel Felice free in the box and the Argentinian had the simplest of tasks as he headed into the net to double the Eagles’ advantage.
The half however ended in negativity for Geylang. As Fadhil Noh ran down the left flank, the ball had seemed to trickle out of play. The assistant referee however failed to agree as the Eagles’ bench protested. Fadhil then played a cross into the box which reached Soon Ho-Moon. Jalal Jasim tried to intervene but in the process was judged to have committed a foul. Referee Edwin Lee pointed to the spot and it was a way back into the match for the home side. Chang Jo-Yoon promptly fired the ball into the net as the match finished 2-1 to Geylang International at half time.
It could have proved to be a nervy second half for Eagles supporters but the players on the pitch were having none of it as they put the game to bed with three well taken goals.
Leonel Felice was in his element once again as he was involved in almost every attack the Eagles had on the night. It was his tenaciousness that won the free-kick which led to Geylang’s third goal. Mustaqim Manzur lined up the free-kick from an acute angle. The winger sent his effort past the keeper and into the top corner. 3-1 to the Eagles and the game was definitely sealed but the goals did not stop there.
Within minutes, a swift counter attack saw Leonel Felice cross for Aliff Shafaein to tap in. The forward wheeled away in delight to celebrate Geylang International’s forth goal.
The icing on the cake came via substitute Hafiz Nor. Kento Fukuda played a long ball over the top and sensing the hesitation from the Woodlands backline, Hafiz used his speed to pounce on the ball and send it looping over the onrushing Yazid Yasin. 5-1 to the Eagles and the Eagles supporters were visibly delighted.
There was however to be a sour note for the Eagles at the end of the match. The referee showed a red card to Aliff Shafaein for something he had said after the final whistle. Aliff had been replaced during the course of the second half by Hafiz Nor.
Eagles head coach was a happy man at the final whistle. He said: “I am very proud of the boys.” He continued: “We scored some superb goals.”
The German was also elated with having five different scorers on the night, given the Eagles’ problems in front of goal. He said: “I am very pleased about that. The last two months the pressure has been on Leonel to score. But the work rate is also something I am happy about.”
With the result, the Eagles are through to the quarter finals. With performances like the one at the Woodlands Stadium and the head coach’s pedigree in cup competitions, not many will be playing down Geylang International’s chances in the RHB Singapore Cup this year.
FINAL SCORE: Woodlands Wellington FC (42′ Chang Jo Yoon) 1-5 Geylang International ( 15′ Khairulnizam Jumahat, 33′ Leonel Felice, 50′ Mustaqim Manzur, 52′ Aliff Shafaein, 70′ Hafiz Nor)
Eagles TV Man of the Match: Mustaqim Manzur
Geylang International Starting 11: Geylang International FC Starting 11 vs Woodlands Wellington FC : Siddiq Durimi, Khairulnizam Jumahat,Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Jalal Jasim (61’ Hamqammal Shah), Ridhuan Muhammad (C), Joaquin Lopez (67’ Franco Chivilo), Fabian Kwok, Mustaqim Manzur, Aliff Shafaein (61’ Hafiz Nor), Leonel Felice