GUFC finish as runners-up in Starhub League Cup!
By Eagles Admin on 13 August 2012
13 August 2012 – Last Saturday evening, the Eagles finally ended their League Cup journey succumbing to a 2-0 loss to Brunei DPMM at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
On 30th July, nobody gave Eagles much of a chance after seeing the team languishing at the bottom of the table after 16 matches in the S-League. However, the Eagles then went to defy all odds by beating Balestier Khalsa, Albirex Niigata, Gombak United then Tampines Rovers en route to the final, facing foreign outfit Brunei DPMM.
With Michael King sweeping the flanks, Jozef Kaplan providing the engine in the midfield and Stefan Milojevic dazzling spectators with his delicate touches and hold-up play, the foreign trio has shared 5 goals to their names in the League Cup alone.
Not forgetting Prime League breakthroughs anchorman Fabian Kwok and the speedy Nurhazwan, the club is very proud of each and every player that has contributed to the club’s league cup success.
At Jalan Besar Stadium, Brunei DPMM did begin the brighter of the two sides after Patrick Da Silva did well on 14 minutes to run down a through ball by the DPMM’s midfield. Sensing an opportunity, Da Silva shot hard and straight but Eagles’ keeper Ridhuan Barudin was unfazed and parried the ball with ease.
Minutes later, Ivan Jerkovic then had the chance to put Brunei DPMM ahead after refree Sukhbir Singh awarded a free kick just outside the Eagles’ penalty box. However, he could only curl the resulting shot over the bar, much to the relief of the Eagles spectators.
Over at the other half, it was very much a different story. On 23 minutes, Michael King, unlike Jerkovic, managed to curl his free-kick well into the penalty box. As a result, Sairol Sahari could only divert the ball towards his own goal. The Eagles would’ve been 1-0 up if not for Wardun Yussof’s instinctive reaction to push the ball for a corner instead.
Moments later, disaster struck.
It started with a dubious call by refree Sukhbir Singh when deciding not to allow a penalty after Tales Dos Santos slid in hard on Shah Hirul inside the penalty box. When possession was then overtaken by DPMM, they countered attack without any hesitation.
Struggling to recover, a long ball by Shahrulrizal was not dealt with properly by the Eagles’ defence. Splitting the defence with a sublime pass to the byline, Azwan then picked up the resulting ball and sent in a low cross to the Eagles’ near post.
Sneaking in behind Syed Fadhil, Shahrazen then glanced his header low into the inside of Ridhuan’s right post to give DPMM their first goal of the match. It was a cruel blow for the Eagles as the DPMM had rarely threatened Ridhuan’s goal before this.
Nevertheless, down but not out. Right before the break, Milojevic then scruffed his shot just wide of Wardun’s goal after the DPMM did well to close him down quickly.
After the start of the second half, Mun Seung Man was alleged to have been tripped inside the penalty box by the DPMM’s defence after refree Sukhbir Singh blew the whistle for a foul. Instead, he would then proceed to shock the entire stadium by branishing Mun a yellow card for diving.
Apalled, Mun and co. protested violently but Sukhbir Singh is one who doesn’t reverse his decisions and a freekick was given to DPMM instead.
From then, the Eagles piled on the pressure.
Milojevic went close on 52 minutes after hitting the cross bar with a dipping shot from just inside the penalty box.
Kaplan then had a goal bound effort blocked by Shahrulrizal after Michael King’s freekick on the right was deflected into his path.
Ang Zhi Wei also made DPMM’s Wardun work by launching a long dipping free kick into the goal which he barely tipped over.
DPMM then soon got the second goal of the game on 76 minutes after DPMM won a free-kick 40 yards out. Azwan Saleh then fooled Ridhuan Barudin by sending a high-flying shot instead of a cross. Caught out of his position, Ridhuan struggled to recover and eventually allowed the fast dipping ball to crash into the underside of the cross bar and into the goal.
Still the Eagles kept on believing and never gave up. Michael King nearly managed to pull one back for the Eagles after confusion between the DPMM’s defence allowed King a 1-on-1 situation with DPMM’s keeper., Wardun Yussof. However, Wardun, having been an ever present presence during the match did well once again to deny the Eagles.
When the final whistle finally blew, the Eagles lowered their heads and accepted that this was just not a day for them and willingly applauded their opposing colleagues.
The players can be said to be hard-done by after having played really well in the match from the first minute to the last. The club is proud of all the players and not forgetting the ever-present group fans who did not hesitate to come down to support us, rain or shine.
Geylang United extends its utmost appreciation to all of you and the journey of the Starhub League Cup 2012 has certainly been an unforgettable one.