Ihata fires opening goal to earn Eagles point
By Eagles Admin on 30 August 2013
The first match of Round 21 saw Tanjong Pagar and Geylang International battle it out for their much awaited 3 points. The match on 28th August was held at the Jaguars’ homeground at Queenstown stadium.
5 minutes into the game, the first goalscoring opportunity came for the Eagles when a free kick was awarded after Yasir Hanapi was tackled while storming down the centre with the ball. Unfortunately the opening goal of the game had to wait as Jalal’s shot went wide of goal.
Just 2 minutes later, the Jaguars launched a counter-attack with Asraf Rashid attempting to score from a flowing movement, which saw the joint efforts of Takuma Ito and Wahyudi Wahid in tandem to deny the hosts any goals, if possible.
Despite the Jaguars’ tight defence, Eagles’ captain, Jozef Kaplan, was able to find another opportunity for his team in the 30th minute as he raced down the centre with the ball to meet with Yasir on the right flank who had broken free from the Jaguars. Yasir’s shot at goal was skilfully saved by Aurelian Herisson.
The first half concluded in a goalless draw with both teams playing in their own usual style.
The Eagles clearly upped the tempo right into the second half with more aggressive attacks while displaying their usual top notch defence.
In the 54th minute, Jaguars’ Azhar Ahmad’s attempt to bring the ball into the box was stopped prematurely by Yasir. Following which, the Eagles immediately pressed hard for their chance on the ball and the goal. Upbeat Eagles’ forward Shotaro Ihata then sent a cross to Norihiro Kawakami but his header did not find the back of net despite being from almost point blank range.
The Eagles were awarded a free kick in the 61st minute after John Wilkinson’s challenge. Jalal’s free kick posed a threat to Herisson as he stretched to tip the ball over the bar, barely saving it. Riding on a sudden boost of morale, the Eagles were by then determined to find the opening goal.
Just a minute later, the Eagles’ efforts paid off as Ihata fired in the opening goal after receiving the corner-kick from Jalal. His instinctive flicked header proved to be too fast for Herisson as the ball snuck past everyone and into the back of the net.
The Eagles looked to extend their lead in the 86th minute when Jozef met with a pass from Stefan Milojevic and sent the ball right to the back of net. Unfortunately, the linesman flagged for offside despite numerous contentions from the Eagle’s bench and players.
The Eagles held on to their lead, but not until the end. The equaliser by Kamel Ramdani came right at the 90th minute, dashing the Eagles’ hopes of bagging the three points.
As the Eagles took on an offensive stance, pressing attacks on the Jaguars up till the last minute, Ramdani, however, had other plans as he capitalised on the attacking industry of the Eagles and slotted the ball home after a loose ball remained uncleared in the Eagle’s defence from a swift Jaguars counterattack.
Coach Kanan, while disappointed by the late equaliser, he recognised that his boys needed to maintain their concentration during the last minutes of the game, especially with them conceding late goals in the past two matches. However, he also credited his boys for the excellent showing and strong adaptation to the conditions despite the rain during the first half.
With only a point earned, the Eagles will be hard pressed to get at least a 7th place finish in the league.