Geylang International FC

Mighty Eagles Steal Last-Gasp Draw Against Tigers

11146606_1074655435882284_4594209944710364970_oA sensational goal by Bruno Castanheira in the dying minutes of stoppage-time, allowed Geylang International to share the spoils with Balestier Khalsa after a 2-2 nail-biting stalemate at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 15 May 2015.

Despite going down to a two-goal deficit, which was inflicted by Robert Pericic’s double headers in the first-half, the Eagles never gave up till the final whistle.

Geylang’s sheer determination allowed them to stage a comeback in the second-half, as Jozef Kaplan’s thunderous volley and Bruno Castanheira’s stunner, salvaged a point for the Eagles.

Both the Eagles and Tigers went onto the pitch gunning for three points as that would be the only way to draw them closer to league’s current three title-contending teams, Albirex Niigata (S), Warriors FC and Brunei DPMM.

In front of a passionate and boisterous Geylang-supporting crowd, the Eagles were pumped up and dominated the game well. The Eagles, even had the first chance of the game, early as the second minute, but Kaplan just could not get at the end of Hafiz Nor’s delicious cross in time.

That glorious missed opportunity would go on to haunt the Eagles, as Balestier opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Pericic, scored the first goal of the game with a remarkable header after connecting well with Tarik Cmajcanin’s splendid corner-kick delivery.

With a goal down, the Eagles pushed forward in search for an equalizer and came very close in the 15th minute. Syed Thaha threaded a wonderful pass to Kaplan inside the box. However, once again the Eagles’ captain missed his chance, as his powerful shot slammed against the side-netting.

Last week’s game winning goal scorer, Tatsuro Inui had two chances in the space of three minutes to equalize with a mighty piledriver and a fabulous free-kick effort. However, Balestier’s custodian, Zaiful Nizam executed top-notch saves to parry the stinging attempts away to safety.

The Eagles’ midfield dynamo, Shah Hirul also had his fair share of efforts at goal as both his shots from outside the box in the 28th and 32nd minute, blazed over the crossbar and glazed inches wide of Zaiful’s far post, respectively.

However, against the run of play once again, Balestier doubled their lead in the 38th minute. Pericic was indeed the goal scorer again as he headed home Miroslav Kristic’s pin-point cross from the edge of the box.

Nevertheless, the last and the best chance of the first-half, fell to Kaplan. The Slovakian forward controlled a beautiful pass from Inui and fired a powerful volley, from close range. Then again, Zaiful Nizam pulled off an excellent save with his legs to keep out the point-blank shot and also maintain his sides’ 2-0 lead, going into the half-time break.

Instead of letting their heads fall, the Eagles reacted positively and started to pile the pressure on Balestier right from the restart.

Soon later, five minutes into the second-half, Geylang managed to pull a goal back with a sensational volley effort from Kaplan, at the edge of the box. Many spectators would agree that the goal was similarly alike, to the wonder goal which Papiss Cisse scored against Chelsea in 2012.

Just four minutes later, Geylang had a magnificent chance to equalize through Inui. The Japanese player raced into the box with a mazy dribble and attempted to bend his effort into the far post. Unfortunately, his shot was deflected by a Balestier player and slammed against the crossbar.

Despite a goal down, the Geylang fans, were still full in voice and continuously cheered on their Eagles for a much-deserved equalizer.

From the 60th minute, Geylang had over seven attempts coming from their four forwards, in the space of 15 minutes. Nonetheless, arguably the‘Man-Of-The-Match’, Zaiful Nizam came to the rescue for the defending ‘RHB Singapore Cup’ champions, as he repeatedly, displayed his heroics in between the posts with marvellous saves.

Coach Jorg Steinebrunner then implemented an offensive strategy as he introduced young starlet, Shawal Anuar for Syed Thaha in the 79th minute. Shawal immediately created an impact as he sprinted past his defender to pick up a cross and fired a decent attempt which forced Zaiful in making another diving save.

The Eagles continued to bombard forward and constantly knocked on Balestier’s goal in the last few minutes. Soon later, the Tigers’ resistance broke deep into the stoppage time as Geylang finally got their much-deserved equalizer. Bruno received Shawal’s pass inside the box and then curled home a mind-blowing finish past the outstretched arms of Zaiful for a spectacular equalizer to end the game.

Geylang’s Head Coach Jorg Steinebrunner, was in mixed reactions as he shared, “It was more of two points lost, as we dominated the game and created numerous chances but just could not put the ball in the net. We gave away two goals, but then again it was two top class goals scored by Jozef and Bruno.”

The German coach also added, “Nevertheless, the point is a fruitful reward for the whole team whom put in a good 90 minute attacking display.”

Geylang International FC will now look forward to next Tuesday’s fixture against Hougang United FC at the Hougang Stadium. With the same character and commitment, the Eagles may be able to extend their unbeaten streak to four games, next match-week.

Full Time : Geylang International FC (Jozef Kaplan 50’, Bruno Castanheira 90’) 2 – 2 (Robert Pericic 10’, 38’) Balestier Khalsa FC

EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Bruno Castanheira

Geylang International FC: Yazid Yazin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Shawal Anuar, 79’), Tatsuro Inui, Hafiz Nor, Shah Hirul, Hafiz Osman, Jozef Kaplan (C), Bruno Castanheira, Nor Azli

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