Geylang International FC

Poised Eagles Wary Of Global’s Threat

10845686_1080230075324820_983842748216212533_oThe Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League takes a short break as it makes way for the RHB Singapore Cup 2015 Quarter-Finals. Geylang International will face a determined Global FC side, for their first-leg tie at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening.

The regional powerhouse in Philippines domestic football, Global, are the only side of the three foreign invitees, to have qualified for the Quarter-Finals stage, after their splendid 2-1 victory over Hougang United at the Hougang Stadium in May.

Global currently ply their trade in the Division I of the United Football League (UFL), the top football league in Philippines. The club first participated in the UFL in 2010, and went undefeated in Division II to secure promotion to Division I. Since then, the club have won the league twice in 2012 and 2014, while finishing as runner-ups in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The People’s Club also known as Global FC, boast several Philippines internationals alongside a few experienced foreign players. Jason De Jong, whom scored the winner against the Cheetahs in Extra-Time, is certainly one of the players to take note. The explosive defensive midfielder, played for Dutch Football League’s NAC Breda in his youth days and have been a fan-favourite in the Philippines National squad. De Jong also picked up the ‘UFL Golden Ball Award’, which is the league’s equivalent for the Most Valuable Player award in 2014.

The Hartmann brothers, Mark and Matthew whom represented former Barclays Premier League side, Portsmouth FC in their younger days, will also be present for the mouth-watering tie against Geylang. Both brothers are current Philippines National squad players and their experience will certainly add some edge to Global’s offensive set-up. Mark Hartmann also clinched the ‘UFL Golden Boot Award’ in 2014 for netting 27 goals in a single season.

Global’s Japanese versatile asset, Norio Suzuki will also be in the thick of action against the Eagles. The former Japanese League (J.League) Division 1 and French League Division 2 player will be tasked to deliver a victory for the People’s Club, by Coach Leigh Manson.

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Global have proven before that they are no pushovers as they managed to advance into the Singapore Cup Semi-Finals in 2013, but narrowly lost out to Tanjong Pagar United FC, with a 2-1 score-line.

The People’s Club are currently one of the in-form teams in  South-East Asia, as they are currently enjoying a 14-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, from May 2015. Global would be eager to extend their unbeaten streak and also clinch a vital win, to carry forward to their second-leg fixture at Bedok Stadium, a few days later.

On the other hand, it has been a stark contrast for Geylang, as they currently languish in the bottom half of the table, in ninth spot. The Eagles’ last victory came against Brunei DPMM in The New Paper League (TNP) Cup 2015 in June. They have been defeated in their last four S.League games, and would be seeking to overturn their fortunes by sealing a win against Global FC.

Geylang International FC would be keen to get back to winning ways and Coach Jorg Steinebrunner, has also highly stressed on the Eagles going all out to etch a good run in the RHB Singapore Cup 2015 tournament.

Apart from winning the Singapore Cup in 2009, the Eagles have not clinched a top four podium finish in 10 years. This year, Geylang would be eager to go the distance in the cup’s journey, but to go one step further than last year’s Quarter-Finals’ achievement, would be the main target for the Eagles.

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In this year’s ‘Preliminary Round’, the Bedok-based club turned the tide in the second-half against Lao Police Club, to overturn the 1-0 first-half deficit, into a splendid 2-1 victory to eliminate the Laotians and progress further in the competition.

With the robust, Hafiz Osman returning from suspension to join Kento Fukuda in the heart of the defence, Geylang’s defensive back-line would be in safe hands as they look forward to put a stop to Global’s imminent threat. With Syed Thaha and Anaz Hadee operating as full-backs, they would have to stay on their feet for the full 90 minutes as they can expect Global’s wingers to torment down the flanks. Furthermore, the Eagles’ wing-backs’ creativity in attack would also come in handy with their pin-point crosses into the box and overlapping runs.

Despite scoring only two goals in four league games, Geylang’s offensive quartet of Jozef Kaplan, Tatsuro Inui, Hafiz Nor and Bruno Castanheira will be looking forward to return back to their red-hot goal scoring form in cup competitions as the Eagles have netted 10 goals in four games in their TNP Cup 2015 journey.

Both Global and Geylang would be hoping to claim a positive result or anything that can add on to their second-leg encounter a few days later, and help them qualify to the Semi-Finals.

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