Geylang International FC

Fiery Eagles Stun Reigning Champions With A Victory

11139389_1068724379808723_5109240704451216071_nLast Saturday, was not only a day of rejoice for Eagles’ Syed Thaha and Sevki Sha’ban, whom celebrated their 30th birthday. It was actually, a night full of celebration and glee for all Eagles’ players, staff and fans as the team recorded their second win of the season over defending S.League champions, Warriors FC at the Bedok Stadium on 2 May 2015.

Geylang’s captain, Jozef Kaplan’s goal in each half, alongside Bruno Castanheira’s first-half brace, ended a run of three straight defeats and clinched maximum points for Jorg Steinebrunner’s side. The ever hard-working, Fazrul Nawaz scored the only consolation reply to the three goals Warriors conceded in the game, as the visitors suffered a surprising 3 – 1 defeat, to the high-flying Eagles.

Despite missing regular starters, Yazid Yazin and Anaz Hadee through injury, the Eagles were determined to earn some points and also deny the Warriors a spot at the top of the standings. Warriors had started the day on second spot, a point behind league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) and a win would have seen them overtake their fellow title contenders.

Geylang gave Warriors no chance of a breather as they bombarded attacks on the Rhinos from the first whistle. The Eagles started the game in exciting fashion and came very close in breaking the deadlock  with their first goal opportunity coming as early as the second minute through Jozef Kaplan. Unfortunately, Warriors’ skipper, Daniel Bennett made an exquisite challenge on Kaplan and kept the Rhinos in the game.

Geylang had the better start with many attempts at goal and looked the likelier side to score. Indeed, the Eagles did so and netted a deserved opener through Kaplan in the 14th minute. Yuki Ichikawa smartly headed down Tatsuro Inui’s splendid free-kick and then Kaplan completed the move when he struck the ball in an unorthodox manner, into the net with his knee to put Geylang in the lead.

Warriors were punished for napping at the back and they went full steam ahead after conceding the goal, by pushing more players upfront in search of an equalizer. Their first chance finally came in the 26th minute, when Bennett delivered a cross and found Nawaz, but the latter’s header did not trouble S.League debutant, Hairul Syirhan as the attempt went horribly wide.

Soon later, with Geylang brimming with confidence, they doubled their lead before the break, through Bruno Castanheira’s brilliant individual skill. The Brazilian born player, displayed some ‘samba’ action of his own, as he picked up a loose ball from the touch-line in the 36th minute and dazzled his way past Bennett before calmly curling home the Eagles’ second goal of the day.

After the half-time break, the nine-time champions, Warriors FC, made two substitutions and the changes introduced some attacking impetus which caused the Rhinos to go all guns blazing for goals.

True enough, 12 minutes after the restart, Fazrul Nawaz whom operated alone without his suspended partner, Nicholas Velez, did manage to find the back of the net. Nawaz pulled one back for the Rhinos, as he turned swiftly inside the penalty-box, before releasing a powerful shot, which caught Syirhan by surprise.

With the momentum and confidence brewing the Warriors’ camp, Nawaz managed to score an equalizer in the 69th minute after pouncing on the rebound of Hafiz Rahim’s shot. However, this time, the effort was ruled offside by the linesman.

Leading by a solitary goal, Jorg Steinebrunner then made three substitutions in the space of 10 minutes to introduce fresh legs for the final moments of the game. The Eagles, then presented S.League debuts to both Farhan Amin and Dhukhilan Jeevamani whom checked in for Hairul Syirhan and Shah Hirul, respectively.  Khairulnizam Jumahat then replaced Tatsuro Inui for the third and final substitution for Geylang on the 75th minute.

With the Warriors piling the pressure upfront, they were exposed numerous times at the back and Geylang’s wingers executed blitzkrieg counter-attacks in search of a third goal.

After which, in the 81st minute, a superb counter-attacking move allowed Jozef Kaplan to be one-on-one against Warriors’ goalkeeper, Daniel Ong. However, the Rhinos’ custodian denied the Slovakian from taking a shot with a magnificent save.

In the 84th minute, Hafiz Nor dispatched a through ball to Kaplan during another counter-attack and the Eagles’ captain, made no mistake this time round, as he sealed the game with a fantastic finish to record his sixth goal of the season. Kaplan skipped past two Rhinos’ defender inside the box and then executed an intelligent curling attempt into the bottom corner of the net to clinch a vital 3-1 victory against uniformed giants, Warriors FC.

The victory has come at the right time and is indeed a timely and promising birthday present to Geylang International FC’s Chairman, Leong Kok Fann whom will celebrate his birthday on the following day.

Geylang’s Head Coach Jorg Steinebrunner, was full of praise of his side and shared, “I am delighted with the boys’ performance and that they fully deserved the victory because they kept on working hard and believed in themselves. I believe that Geylang International is a quality side and we will look for some stability in bid to yield more positive results.”

Geylang International FC will now look forward to next Friday’s fixture against another local powerhouse, Home United FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium. With the same character and commitment, the Eagles may be able to upset and overtake the currently sixth placed, Protectors in the league standings.

Full Time : Geylang International FC (Jozef Kaplan 14’, Bruno Castanheira 37’, Jozef Kaplan 84’) 3 – 1 (Fazrul Nawaz 57’) Warriors FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Jozef Kaplan

Geylang International FC: Hairul Syirhan (GK) (Farhan Amin, 63’), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha, Nor Azli, Tatsuro Inui (Kairulnizam Jumahat, 65’), Hafiz Nor, Shah Hirul (Dhukhilan S/O Jeevamani, 72’), Hafiz Osman, Jozef Kaplan (C), Bruno Castanheira

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