Geylang International FC

Geylang Concedes A Late Goal To Share The Spoils

11540880_1099749486706212_319542749498132594_oGeylang International FC were denied both, a remarkable victory over Hougang United and an almost certain spot in the Semi-Finals of The New Paper (TNP) League Cup 2015, in the cruellest fashion at the Hougang Stadium on 27th June 2015.

A headed goal from Hougang’s Diego Gama in the final seconds of stoppage time, ensured that the thrilling TNP League Cup Group A fixture, concluded in a 2-2 draw, instead of a deserving victory for the Eagles.

Geylang established their lead, when Jozef Kaplan scored a sitter in the first-half, whilst Bruno Castanheira doubled the lead with an impressive header in the second-half. Once Geylang were ahead with a 2-0 lead, the Eagles were expected to cruise from start to finish, without any hiccups.

However, the battling Cheetahs responded positively after the break, and turned the tide with Gama’s two goals in the span of 10 minutes. The Brazilian, singlehandedly salvaged a much desired point for Hougang, with virtually the last kick of the game.

Geylang started as the brighter side of the two and registered their first shot in the third minute. Tatsuro Inui unleashed a stinging shot from outside the box, but Hougang’s custodian Ridhuan Barudin parried the snap-shot attempt with a full-stretch dive.

Soon later, Kento Fukuda also had a chance to be on the score sheet with his powerful attempt. The towering defender smashed in a loose rebound towards goal and the effort did beat Ridhuan Barudin. Unfortunately, it was cleared off the line by Hougang’s Atsushi Shimono.

Hougang gradually settled into the game and did have their fair share of chances. However, the Eagles’ goalkeeper, Yazid Yazin was the difference between an attempt and a goal. The S.League legend stopped Yuki Ichiyama’s shot from close range in the 15th minute, before putting his body on the line against Vuk Sotirovic to head away a defence-splitting pass from Fairoz Hasan in the 18th minute.

The Eagles’ persistence finally paid off five minutes later, as Kaplan slotted home the opener from close range. Bruno Castanheira  teed up Jozef Kaplan inside the box, but the latter’s initial shot was well parried away by the Hougang’s custodian. However, the Eagles’ captain, made no mistake with the rebound and converted it to break the deadlock.

Just a minute later, Geylang almost doubled their advantage, when Kaplan’s attempt from range crashed against the post. Hafiz Nor, then picked up the rebound which came of the post, and teed up Castanheira with a neat back-heel pass. However, Castanheira’s missile from inside the box, sailed well over the bar and that concluded the best chance of the first-half.

After the half-time break, Inui continued to give all sorts of problems to the hosts. This time, he weaved his magic, past two Hougang defenders inside the box and fired a blazing shot which  glided over the Hougang’s goal.

A few minutes later, the Cheetahs’ skipper, Fairoz Hasan had a wonderful attempt to equalize as discharged an outer-foot belter from 30 odd yards. The shot, swerved at the last moment, but Yazin was up to the task and parried the ball away to safety.

After that scare from Hasan, Geylang knew that, a one goal lead was never enough and the Eagles went in search for their second goal. The Easterners were well rewarded in the 53rd minute as Tatsuro Inui dazzled his way past his markers to provide a deep cross for Castanheira, whom executed a well-timed header from the far-post to secure a 2-0 lead.

Despite being two goals down, Hougang did not look fazed but instead focused on their set-pieces and plays through the centre-forwards.

Yazin, kept the Eagles at bay with multiple saves including a rocket free-kick attempt from Vuk Sotirovic and a point-blank attempt from Kenneth Chang.

Despite, Geylang contained the pressure well from the aerial threats, Hougang’s efforts finally paid it dividends in the 84th minute, when Diego Gama challenged Yazin to a long ball, before slamming the rebound into an empty net.

The unexpected lifeline spurred Hougang on and the Cheetahs became optimistic, as they piled the numbers forward, to obtain a possible equalizer.

Geylang did put up a valiant front and certainly did defended well as team. However, it was just not their day once again at the Hougang Stadium. The Cheetahs’ completed their emphatic comeback, in the dying seconds of injury-time with Diego Gama rising the highest, to head home Sotirovic’s corner-kick.

The draw has now blown the group wide open going into the last round of fixtures on Thursday night. Geylang and Hougang are on four points while Brunei DPMM are closely behind with three after thrashing SRC, 5-0 in a concurrent game yesterday night.

Geylang’s Head Coach Jorg Steinebrunner said, “The boys played well, they played hard. It was a good performance by the team and end of the day we are still top of the table and it is all remaining in our hands against Brunei DPMM.”

The  43-year-old German that his side should have earned a victory at the Hougang Stadium and also commented, “For 85 minutes, we were the better team and we dominated. We came here with a game-plan and it was to frustrate them by packing the midfield and counter-attacking…We were far ahead of them,”

Geylang International FC will now face Brunei DPMM FC in a do-or-die game, at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 02 July 2015, to conclude the third and final round of the TNP League Cup Group A fixtures.

With the same character and commitment, the Eagles might be able to soar high and claw a victory against the Wasps.

Full Time : Geylang International FC (Jozef Kaplan 22’, Bruno Castanheira 53’) 2 – 2 (Diego Gama 84’, 90’) Hougang United FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Nor Azli

Geylang International FC: Yazid Yasin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Anaz Hadee 83′), Nor Azli Yusoff, Khairulnizam Jumahat (Shah Hirul 60′), Tatsuro Inui, Jozef Kaplan (C), Hafiz Nor (Shawal Anuar 87′), Bruno Castanheira.

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