Geylang International FC

Geylang Soar to Victory in the Eastern Derby

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After three games, Geylang International FC finally recorded their first win of the 2015 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League campaign. The Eagles did not only clinch three vital points, but also earned their bragging rights with the 3-2 triumph over traditional rivals, Tampines Rovers FC in the “Eastern Derby” at the Jalan Besar Stadium on the 3rd April 2015.

The much anticipated game’s kick-off was delayed by half an hour due to the lightning warning system being triggered, but the crowd were rewarded for their patience with goals galore and great display of attacking football from the Eagles, who took little time to get into the game.

Geylang’s first attack came in the first minute through Bruno Castanheira, as he picked up Stags’ Siddiq Durimi’s weak goal-kick attempt and headed goal bound, but Pedrag Pocuca saved Tampines’ blushes with a superb last ditch tackle.

After that serious wake-up call, Tampines got their head in the game and converted their first chance at goal in the 12th minute. Stags’ Roberto Alviz delivered a deep cross that was poorly cleared by Kento Fukuda, which then, the loose ball fell to an unmarked Firduas Idros, whom calmly slotted home the opener past Yazid Yazin.

With a 1-0 lead, Tampines pressed forward eagerly and were nearly rewarded with another goal through Ridhuan Muhamad and Rodrigo Tosi on two separate occasions. Firstly, Tosi caught Yazid off his line and attempted halfway-line shot which sailed harmlessly wide. Secondly, ex-Geylang captain, Ridhuan was set clear on goal by Alviz, but Yazid’s quick reflexes parried the shot away to safety.

Despite the constant attacks from the Stags, the Eagles once again proved deadly with their set-pieces as they netted the equalizer through Yuki Ichikawa’s powerful header from the back post after connecting with Tatsuro Inui’s splendid free-kick delivery.

In the 34th minute, Tampines had a chance to restore their lead. After a goal-mouth scramble, leaving Yazid out and off his line, Alviz then launched a powerful shot, but Hafiz Osman displayed his defensive heroics with a stupendous goal-line clearance.

Geylang had one last chance to score just before the break. Hafiz Nor brilliantly turned away from his marker inside the box and had a clear chance at goal. Unfortunately, the speedy winger fired his shot straight at the Stags’ custodian.

A minute later, Hafiz Nor was in the referee’s book, not for scoring a goal, but for the wrong reason; a yellow card. He was booked after a needless and reckless challenge in the Tampines defensive half.

The Eagles once again, restarted the second-half the much brighter side, with Kaplan coming close in the 46th minute but regrettably had his chance blazed over the crossbar, despite being in the six-yard box.

Soon later, Geylang were given a second chance for redemption as they were awarded a penalty-kick in the 60th minute, after Bruno Castanheira’s bicycle-kick attempt inside the box strucked Tampines’ Jufri Taha’s hand. Up stepped Eagles’ captain fantastic, Kaplan who calmly dispatched his spot-kick towards the bottom right, to get Geylang their first lead of the season.

Last season’s golden boot winner, Tosi, was a constant threat to Geylang’s goal throughout the second-half with his powerful headers, but Yazid fantastically kept all attempts out. Tosi came the closest when he latched onto Alviz’s beautiful corner-kick delivery. However Eagles’ Anaz Hadee was there to prevent the equalizer with a goal-line clearance header.

Failure to equalize time and time again, led to frustrations in which Eddy Viator vented out on Tatsuro Inui and was shown the yellow card for the crunching tackle.

Trailing by a goal, Stags’ head coach V.Sundramoorthy brought on two more strikers, Noh Alam Shah and Indra Shadan to aid Tosi in the Stags’ quest for goals. The bold move proved to be instrumental, as Alam Shah headed in Jamil Ali’s delivery for the equalizer in the 87th minute.

With the match heading to a nail-biting finish at 2-2, the Eagles stole the limelight with an instantaneous reply in the 88th minute. After 12 seconds of the restart, Bruno Castanheira celebrated the decisive winner as he smashed his volley from Tatsuro Inui’s cross to not only take the 3-2 lead , but also unlock his personal season goal tally.

However, in injury time, things ended on a sour note when Geylang’s Nor Azli was sent off in the dying seconds for lashing out at Alviz. With that incident, both benches erupted on the sidelines, which witnessed, Tampines’ assistant coach Aleksandar Duric and Eagles’ head coach Jorg Steinebrunner sent to the stands.

Geylang coach Jorg Steinbrunner was delighted with the victory but will focus on the next fixture against Albirex Niigata (S) next Wednesday at Jurong East Stadium.

“End of the day, we showed great character to score the winner despite conceding the equalizer late in the game. Nevertheless, we will look forward to better this performance against the White Swans, next week.”

Full Time : Geylang International FC (Yuki Ichikawa 26′, Jozef Kaplan 62′ [P], Bruno Castanheira 89′) 3 – 2 (Firdaus Idros 12′, Noh Alam Shah 88′) Tampines Rovers FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Yazid Yazin (GK)

Geylang International FC: Yazid Yasin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Nor (Zulkifli Suzliman 77′), Hafiz Osman, Nor Azli, Anaz Hadee (Syed Taha 73′), Mustaqim Manzur (Shah Hirul 62′), Tatsuro Inui, Jozef Kaplan(C), Bruno Castanheira

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