Geylang International beaten in the Eastern Derby
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 16 March 2014
Tampines Rovers cast their rivals Geylang International aside en route to their third victory in as many games in the S.League at the Clementi Stadium. The injury hit Eagles’ defeat in the eastern derby was largely due to an ineffective performance in the first half where all three goals in the game were conceded. Miljan Mradkovic, Luis Closa and Aleksander Duric scored for the Stags in the first half to condemn Geylang International to their third straight loss.
The writing seemed to be on the wall, as Tampines Rovers started the game strongly. As early as the fourth minute, Geylang goalkeeper was forced into action. Aleksander Duric managed to find space in the box and drilled a shot at goal, only for it to be palmed away for a corner. A defence marshalled by stand in defender and natural goalkeeper Siddiq Durimi was bound to be tested heavily by a strong Tampines attack. And tested they did.
A through ball by Shahdan Sulaiman found Mradkovic through on goal and the marquee player drilled his effort past Joey Sim and into the goal. 1-0 to the Stags and it was the start of a catastrophic first half for the Eagles.
The night then got worse for Geylang International, and in particular, their custodian Joey Sim. Looking to collect a harmless long ball pelted towards goal, the goalkeeper spilled the ball and Tampines midfielder Luis Closa, fortunate to have the ball at his feet, shot into an empty net to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
The third and final goal of the night came via Geylang International old boy, Aleksander Duric. Collecting Mradkovic’s knock down, the veteran thumped his effort right past Joey Sim despite the latter’s best efforts to save it. A third goal in as many games for a former Eagle, after Hafiz Rahim and Yasir Hanapi netted in the Warriors’ and Home United‘s wins respectively.
As the referee signalled for the end of the first half, Tampines Rovers led 3-0 in what was a one sided affair.
The second half proved to be a much closer tie as Geylang International produced a better performance. Looking to make amends for his first half mistake, Joey Sim was on song as he kept out Aleksander Duric ‘s effort after the striker was clean through on goal. In another attack, the custodian came out briilianty to deny Shaiful Esah after the midfielder broke down the left flank.
Geylang’s best chance came in the 70th minute as Ridhuan Muhammad‘s right flank cross fell to the head of Leonel Felice. The Argintinean however, powered his effort over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
Geylang International made two changes as Mustaqim Manzur and Aliff Shafaein came on to replace Muhammad Ridhuan and Hafiz Nor. The change proved to be effective as Mustaqim notably, looked to take the game to Tampines. Minutes after coming on, the midfielder went down the left flank and unleashed a daisy cutter of a shot that went just wide.
Joaquin Lopez also provided a moment for the highlight reel as his 20 yard effort was palmed away by Hyrulnizam Jumahat in the opposite goal.
Speaking to the Geylang media team after the match, was a dejected looking head coach Vedhamuthu Kanan. Asked on where he felt the game was lost, he said: “We lost the game in the first half. We wanted to play compact defensively and attack on the counter but it didn’t work.” Citing an injury hit defence, which was without Japanese duo Kento Fukuda and Yuki Ichikawa, he said : “They scored three easy goals and they exploited our young and inexperienced defence.”
Preferring to look at positives, V.Kanan mentioned, “We played well in the second half and that is something to take back from the game. “
The Eagles next face the Courts Young Lions at the Bedok Stadium, in what is now a must win fixture for Geylang International. Reflecting on a tough start to the season, coach V.Kanan felt the fixture will be easier for his side. He said: “They are beatable and we will work hard to prepare for the game against Young Lions.”
FINAL SCORE: Tampines Rovers 3 (Miljan Mradkovic 16′, Luis Closa 30′, Aleksander Duric 42′) 3–0 Geylang International FC
Geylang International Line-up: Joey Sim, Wyldan Wisam, Siddiq Durimi, Joaquin Lopez, Hamqammal Shah (55’ Mustaqim Manzur), Jalal Jasim, Franco Chivilo, Shah Hirul, Hafiz Nor (55’ Aliff Shafaein), Ridhuan Muhammad (78’ Hyder Ismail) (C) Leonel Felice