Luckless Eagles held to a draw by Woodlands Wellington
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 27 April 2014
For the second time in consecutive weeks, Geylang International were left to rue missed chances and inspiring opposition goalkeeping performances as they settled for a 1-1 draw against in form Woodlands Wellington. It all began brightly for the Eagles as they took the game to the visitors, pegging them back in their own half for majority of the first period. The pressure duly paid as Kento Fukuda’s thumping header gave Geylang the lead going into half time. The second half proved to be a similar affair of relentless Geylang attacks but a defensive error gifted Woodlands the equaliser with Moon Soonho finishing past Joey Sim. Spoils shared but if there was any consolation, Geylang International left the pitch knowing their unbeaten run under head coach Jorg Steinebrunner lives for another week at least.
Both teams came into the tie on the back of impressive results in the league. A five match unbeaten run for the Eagles, while the Rams had a 2-1 win over defending champions Tampines Rovers to show for. It was the home side that started the stronger. Mustaqim Manzur played a peach of a ball to release Hafiz Nor. As the fleet footed winger raced through, he was forced into a lob with Yazid Yasin rushing out. His lob however, had too much on it and sailed over the bar. Franco Chivilo also looked lively and his contribution was almost telling. Robbing the ball in midfield, the Argentinian surged forward before playing an eye of the needle pass towards Ridhuan. But before the captain could pull off a shot, the Woodlands defence intervened to clear their lines. But all the pressure meant it was only a matter of time before the home side took a deserved lead. Take the lead, they did.
After winning a free kick in a dangerous position outside the box, Geylang defenders positioned themselves inside the box for a ball to run onto. The ball was a present generously accepted by Japanese defender, Kento Fukuda, who gave the Eagles a lead with a thumping header past Yazid Yasin. As the referee blew for the half time whistle, Geylang International held a 1-0 lead over Woodlands Wellington.
The second half turned out to be a similar affair in terms of chances and possession but tuned out differently in where it mattered, the score line as Woodlands took advantage of a defensive mishap to equalise early in the second half. A miscued clearance from Joey Sim fell to Woodlands’ Atsushi Shimono who played the ball to Moon Soonho. The South Korean, made no mistakes, finishing past the Geylang keeper to make it 1-1.
After the goal, it was a combination of a lack of lady luck and a Yazid Yasin master class that kept the Eagles at bay. Mustaqim Manzur in particular had to bear the frustration. First, the winger’s free kick from an acute angle hit the upright just as it seemed like it was going in. Then another of his free kick was met with an excellent save by the Woodlands custodian. As the teams shook hands with one another at the end of the match, the Eagles were left to wonder what could have been.
The result seemed to evoke a similar response from head coach Jorg Steinebrunner in his post-match interview with Eagles TV. “It was definitely two points dropped.” The same response he had given after the last match, a 1-1 draw with Balestier Khalsa FC. The coach also commended his side for their performance. He said: “We were the much better footballing team. There was one team playing football “He continued, “The team character and morale is spot on.”
The Eagles now march on to the next match against Tanjong Pagar with a six match unbeaten run in the bag. Geylang International look unbeatable with the German at helm but one wonders if it’s only a matter of time before the Eagles become a side other teams in the league can’t match.
FULL TIME: Geylang International (40′ Kento Fukuda) 1-1 Woodlands Wellington (56′ Moon Soonho)
EAGLES TV Man Of the Match: Mustaqim Manzur
Geylang International XI: Joey Sim, Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Joaquin Lopez, Hamqammal Shah, Ridhuan Muhammad (C), Fabian Kwok, Franco Chivilo, Mustaqim Manzur, Hafiz Nor (82′ Shah Hirul) , Leonel Felice