Match Preview: Geylang International vs Tampines Rovers
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 5 June 2014
Fresh from the mauling of Woodlands Wellington in the Singapore Cup, Geylang International return to league duties as they face Tampines Rovers at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday. The Eastern Derby as it is known will be televised, adding an extra bite to the encounter.
The Eagles’ league form had not been impressive leading up to the cup clash with Woodlands, but the result on the night is set to spur on Geylang International. They had lost to Albirex Niigata, Warriors FC and Home United in consecutive matches before trumping Woodlands in the Singapore Cup. The Stags, meanwhile have enjoyed better times recently after replacing Salim Moin with Rafi Ali. The latter remains undefeated as Tampines coach. A 2-1 victory over Courts Young Lions, a 2-2 draw with Home United and a 3-3 draw with Warriors have helped maintain Tampines’ league position. But with Brunei DPMM notching up victories after victories, a win at Jalan Besar is of most importance for the Stags as they look to make up for a five point deficit.
In the reverse fixture earlier this season, Tampines Rovers triumphed 3-0 at the Clementi Stadium. It turned out to be then head coach, V.Kanan’s last game in charge of the Eagles.
Geylang International are expected to name an unchanged line-up from the side that faced Woodlands Wellington while Tampines Rovers could hand out debuts to new signings, Jozef Kaplan, who was released from Malaysia Premier League side Negeri Sembilan earlier this month, and Justin Pasfield, a former Australian Under-23 international goalkeeper. Kaplan, of course is no stranger to Eagles fans, and Geylang will be hoping to keep their former captain quiet on the night.
With head coach, Jorg Steinebrunner having to travel back to Germany for personal matters, assistant coach Nazareno Velez and goalkeeping coach, Scott Starr took on training duties. When asked about the team’s preparation during the week ahead of the Eastern Derby, Nazareno said: “The team trained very hard this week and we are excited to play on Friday.” The cup win has also revitalised the squad ahead of the match. Nazareno added: “After the Woodlands game, the team is more motivated to get more points in the league.”
When asked about the Eagles’ chances in the clash, Nazareno was optimistic. He said: “In our recent games, against Home United, Warriors and Albirex, we had chances but couldn’t finish. In the Woodlands, game we finished our chances. So, if we take our chances against Tampines we can take the three points.”