Eagles’ Wings Clipped By Feisty Cheetahs
By Kevin Prasad on 8 April 2016
Geylang International’s six-game unbeaten streak was brought to an end by Hougang United, as the Cheetahs came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Eagles, 3-1 at the Hougang Stadium on Thursday evening.
Carlos Delgado converted a spot-kick in the opening stages to give the Eagles’ lead. However, second-half strikes from Stipe Plazibat, Faiz Salleh and Raihan Rahman awarded the home side three points and condemned the Eagles to their first league defeat.
The visitors, started the ball rolling very impressively, as they maintained the organisation of their 4-3-3 formation, whilst pressing hard and high at the Cheetahs’ backline.
The Eagles’ hard-work eventually paid off, as Geylang was awarded a penalty after Sahil Suhaimi was brought down inside the box, as his mazy footwork was too much too handle.
Geylang’s playmaker, Carlos then stepped up and calmly slotted the spot-kick into the back of the net against his former side, to chalk up his third goal of the season.
The Argentinean, had a chance to double his side’s lead, when he unleashed a rocket from the edge of the box. However, the shot was brilliantly saved by Hougang’s goalkeeper, Khairulhin Khalid.
The Cheetahs, buoyed by their boisterous supporters, turned up the heat in the closing stages of the first-half, and almost netted an equalizer.
Hougang’s captain, Nurhilmi Jasni, was quickest to pounce on Fumiya Kogure’s whipping free-kick. However, the heroics of Syazwan Buhari kept the Eagles’ lead intact as he executed a super save to stop his point-blank attempt.
After the restart, Hougang began the match brightly as they dominated possession and passed the ball around with ease.
The Cheetahs, looked a total different side and went all guns blazing in search of an equalizer. In the 50th minute, Stipe advanced into box from the right flank and fired a pile-driver, which fortunately, crashed against the side netting.
The hosts’ then reaped their dividends as it was the Cheetahs’ turn to be awarded a penalty-kick, as Kogure was brought down inside the box. Seconds later, Stipe made no mistake from the spot-kick to clinch the equalizer in the 54th minute.
Six minutes later, the hosts claimed the lead and sent the home crowd into jubilation, as the unmarked Faiz Salleh steered in his header after a well-worked corner-kick. Fumiya launched a pin-point cross from the set-piece towards Faiz, whom produced a diving header, which caught Syazwan off-guard, as the ball looped over and landed in the net.
Trailing by a goal, the Eagles could have pull level on two occasions, as they almost found a foothold back. However, despite getting past the Cheetahs’ defence with mazy dribbles, both Gabriel and Sahil could not find the net, as their efforts blazed narrowly wide and was superbly blocked, respectively.
With much determination and effort, Geylang pushed men up for the evasive equalizer. However, the gutsy Cheetahs exploited the Eagles’ backline and punished the shell-shocked visitors.
In the 88th minute, the Eagles paid for their wastefulness in front of goal, as Hougang sealed a comfortable win, when Raihan dribbled his way into the box, before thumping a half-volley which smashed past, the flying Syazwan.
The wonderful goal sent the home fans in ecstasy, as the Cheetahs completely turned the tide around with an impressive second-half come-back performance.
Speaking after the game, Geylang International’s Hasrin, was contented in securing his first three points as a first-time S.League Head Coach. “I know we will lose one day, but now it would be interesting to see how the boys will bounce back since this is our first loss this season,” said Hasrin.
The 40-year-old also added, “So I just want to see them come back from this in our next game, and we are going to rectify our mistakes, like giving away needless fouls and being more clinical with our chances.”
Geylang International FC will now face Home United FC in their next fixture, at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 15th April 2016!
Full Time: Hougang United FC (Stipe Plazibat [Pen] 54’, Faiz Salleh 60’, Raihan Rahman 88’) 3 – 1 Geylang International FC (Carlos Delgado [PEN] 15’)
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Stanely Ng
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Shariff Samat, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Isa Halim (C) (Nor Azli 64’), Gabriel Quak (Indra Shahdan 81’), Stanely Ng, Carlos Delgado, Amy Recha (Shawal Anuar 75’), Sahil Suhaimi
*Photos Courtesy of S.League