Eagles’ unbeaten run at Jalan Besar halted
By Andrew Ang on 1 August 2014
Geylang International returned to league action in undesirable circumstances after they crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Balestier Khalsa FC. The defeat marked the end of the Eagles’ unbeaten record at the Jalan Besar Stadium after racking up five wins and two draws in all competitions this season on the artificial turf.
Head coach Jorg Steinebrunner was forced to make changes to a side which had excelled in the Starhub League Cup, with midfield enforcer Fabian Kwok having to sit out the clash due to a suspension. Franco Chivilo was installed back into the line-up alongside Shah Hirul as Joaquin Lopez dropped out of the squad.
With both sides languishing in the bottom half of the table, the match was predicted to be a cagey affair and it was indeed tight in the opening stages as both sides strived to get a grip of the early proceedings.
The Eagles’ first real attempt in the match came in the 23rd minute after Franco Chivilo released Hafiz Nor down the right flank. Hafiz cut in and fired his shot towards goal but the Balestier custodian was hand to thwart the former national team winger.
Thorsten Schneider was next to come close as he leapt to meet Khairulnizam Jumahat’s free-kick. His header however failed to test the Balestier goalkeeper. But just as the half came to a close, Balestier hit the Eagles with a sucker punch.
A brilliant over the top ball split the Eagles backline and Kim Min Ho ran onto the ball to calmly slot it past the outrushing Joey Sim.
If the first half was judged to be a cagey affair then the leash came off in the second half.
The Eagles took the game to the Tigers and were almost rewarded.
A nifty one-two between Franco Chivilo and Hafiz Nor saw the latter lash an effort towards goal but once again Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam was on hand to keep the ball out. But from the resulting corner, the Eagles drew level.
Leonel Felice’s header was brilliantly kept out, but on came a Japanese bullet train. Kento Fukuda thumped the rebound home to bring the Eagles back on level terms.
As the home side surged forward for the lead, there was bound to be spaces left behind. A space which the Tigers took advantage of. A quick attack saw Goran Ljubojevic and Zulkifli Hasim exchange neat passes before the latter smashed the ball into the net.
There could have been a last minute salvation for the Eagles but the chance went begging. Leonel Felice flicked the ball on and it landed at the feet of an unmarked Fuad Ramli but the Singapore u21 midfielder’s shot was saved well by Zaiful.
The final whistle sounded and the Eagles’s unbeaten run had come to a crashing end.