Geylang International FC

Pre-season: Geylang International 1-0 Tampines Rovers

Geylang International 1-0 Tampines Rovers

Geylang International recorded their second victory of pre-season with a 1-0 win over the visiting Tampines Rovers. Argentine import Leonel Felice recorded his second goal in as many games by converting a penalty that was awarded to the home side in the last minute of regulation time.

Both sides started the game in tentative fashion and Eagles’ custodian Joey Sim had to be alert to parry away a Miljan Mrdakovic shot from close range after Kento Fukuda failed to deal with an aerial ball into the penalty area.

From then, Geylang began to slowly take control of the game. Good work from Hamqaamal Shah down the flank saw him reaching the byline and cutting in a low cross that Fabian Kwok could only shoot tamely at Hyrulnizam Juma’at in Tampines’ goal.

The Eagles should really have taken the lead at the quarter-hour mark. Skipper Riduan Muhammad released Mustaqim Manzur down the right and the flying winger puts in a sumptuous cross for Leonel who could only blaze the ball well over with only the keeper to beat.

There was a scare for Geylang just before half-time when Roberto Gamarra’s chip bounced off the crossbar after being first to a loose ball that resulted from Joey’s save from Jamil Ali in a one-on-one situation. The Stags’ marquee signing Mrdakovic could only head the ball wide with the goal gaping after the ball had fallen kindly to him after rebounding off the crossbar. The first half ended in a stalemate.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Mustaqim Manzur picked up what looked like a serious ankle injury after he landed badly following a tussle. Aleksander Duric sportingly piggy-backed Mustaqim off the field with no stretcher-bearers available.

Chances were far and few in the second half as both coaches rang the changes, making sure to utilize their full squad. Tempers threatened to flare on a few occasions after Tampines’ players went in a bit too strong in their tackles for a pre-season game.

The best chance of the half fell to Leonel after he was picked up by Jonathan Tan in the box. But alas, he could not put it on target. Just when everyone thought the game would end goalless, the referee awarded Geylang a penalty after he deemed Imran Sahib had blocked Aliff Shafaein’s cross with his hands. Up step Leonel to put the spot-kick beyond Hyrulnizam’s reach.

When quizzed on how the pre-season is panning out for the Eagles so far, Coach Kanan replied, “We are a very new team and I think the team is shaping up well. So I am not worried about the results but rather concerned with how we play and gel as a team. We have one more month to prepare before our first game against the Warriors and now we are going to India for the tournament (IFA Shield).”

“We just want to go there (India) and play well. It’s an international tournament and it’s going to be a big experience and good exposure for many of the players. If we do well then it’s a bonus for us but what I want is for the team to play well.” Coach Kanan added.

He also sounded upbeat when asked about how the new foreign signings are gelling with the team, “They have been with us for only about a week plus. They are gelling well and there is plenty of camaraderie in the team. The bonding is there and that is important as it’s all about teamwork for us.”

Coach Kanan also confirmed that his squad has been finalized and that there won’t be any more additions to the team.

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