Geylang’s ‘Never Say Die’ Attitude Knocks Warriors Out Of RHB Singapore Cup
By Kevin Prasad on 28 May 2016
Geylang International FC turned the tide in the second-half to record a slender 2-1 victory over Warriors FC in the Preliminary Round of the RHB Singapore Cup 2016 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
The Rhinos took the lead through Madhu Mohana’s towering header from a corner-kick, in the first -half. After the break, Geylang responded within seconds, as Sahil Suhaimi netted the equalizer and subsequently, Faritz Hameed struck the winner seven minutes later.
It was never going to be an easy game for both teams, as the Eagles and Warriors shifted their attention to a cup silverware after falling behind in the footrace of the S.League title, after chalking up some unfortunate results.
The Eagles made their intentions clear early in the game, as they pressed right from the kick-off. Despite dishing accurate passes and making surging runs forward, Geylang was still unable to break down the Rhinos’ sturdy defence.
However, against the run of play, Warriors threatened to score with a glorious opportunity-their first attempt on target, in the 20th minute.
Zulfadli Zainal sprinted down the flank and launched a pin point cross to Marijan Suto, whom unleashed a powerful header which crashed against the woodwork, before Daniel Bennett cleared the rebound to safety.
A few seconds later, the Rhinos drew first blood, courtesy of Madhu’s superb header. Hafiz Rahim whipped in a delicious corner kick delivery and the unmarked Madhu rose highest to steer the ball into the net with a deft header, past Syazwan Buhari.
The opening goal had Geylang chasing the game but the best chance for the Eagles came in the 27th minute, as Safirul Sulaiman flicked up a rebound, before hitting a terrific half-volley, which was duly saved by Yazid Yazin.
Eagles could only conjure a few more half-chances, before the referee made a controversial decision which sent the Eagles’ bench and fans into a boisterous rant.
Deep into first-half injury time, Sahil singlehandedly dribbled his way into the box, and was allegedly brought down with a rash tackle by goal scorer, Madhu. However, the match referee surprisingly waived play on, despite the furious penalty appeals as the first-half concluded, soon after.
Geylang stepped back out on the field looking rejuvenated and eagerly hungry for the equalizer, with Hasrin Jailani’s words still ringing in their ears. However, within 50 seconds all they could hear were the jubilant celebrations of over 500 travelling fans.
The words of wisdom by Coach Hasrin reaped it dividends as, Geylang clinched the deserved equalizer, barely a minute after the restart.
Carlos Delgado launched a corner-kick delivery towards the near post and Daniel, quickest to the ball, flicked a header which ricocheted against the woodwork. Fortunately, Sahil was at the right place and right time, to stab home the equalizer from a yard out, despite the flying Yazid.
From then on, momentum swung towards Geylang’s favour as the ‘men in green and white’, began to dominate proceedings, despite Warriors trying their best to reclaim their advantage.
However, the valiant Eagles extinguished any hopes of the Rhinos restoring their lead, as Geylang netted another goal in the space of seven minutes to send the Bedok-based supporters into a frenzy.
Determined wing-back, Fartiz Hameed picked up a loose ball and dispatched a glorious pass to Gabriel on the left-flank. The wing wizard, then returned the favour and drived in a low cross to the on running, Faritz who tapped in from close range to give Geylang a deservingly 2-1 lead.
While Warriors fought to restore parity, it never happened, as Geylang held onto their remarkable comeback lead for the remaining 35 minutes, to proceed to the next round of the RHB Singapore Cup.
Hafiz Rahim’s 20-yard low pile driver was the best chance and it was saved by the legs of Syazwan, before Jonathan Behe let loose a header which sailed over the bar, as time soon expired with the referee’s final whistle, which sent the Geylang camp into ecstasy.
It was a lead the Eagles eventually did not surrender, as their defence stood strong to deny their opponents a couple of opportunities and claim a memorable win to send them into the Quarter-Finals to face the current in-form team and S.League leaders, Albirex Niigata (S) FC.
Speaking after the game, Hasrin was delighted with the result and impressed with his charges, “I think we deserved the win, but second half we were the much better team. The first half we controlled the game but they scored. During the second half we told the players you need to play more than 100% in order to win. We showed that we were the hungrier side.”
Full Time : Geylang International FC (Sahil Suhaimi 46’, Faritz Hameed 53’) 2 – 1 (Madhu Mohana 21’) Warriors FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Nor Azli Yusoff
Geylang International FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Gabriel Quak (Branko Cubrilo 80′), Daniel Bennett, Fartiz Hameed, Safirul Sulaiman, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Suhaimi, Nor Azli Yusoff (C), Shawal Anwar (Stanely Ng 35′)
*Photos Courtesy of S.League