Geylang International FC

Rampant Eagles held at Jurong East Stadium

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Jurong East stadium was the site of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S-league 2013 match-up between Albirex Niigata FC and Geylang International FC on the 3rd of August 2013. Albirex Niigata FC were sitting on 2nd place with 34 points still trailing league leaders Tampines Rovers, whereas the Eagles were occupying the 9th spot in the table just 2 points adrift of Brunei DPMM.

Albirex Niigata FC were experiencing a stagnant run of form as they had failed to record a win in 3 games, and didn’t manage to score a single goal in 2 out of the 3 games played. This hinted at the fact that the Japanese outfit were having trouble finding the net, which could be pointed, at the poor form of the finishers.

This run of form for the opposition could not come at a better time for the Eagles as they were pining for a win in the league, having just dropped out of the RHB Singapore Cup Quarter-Finals. However, an inconsistent streak of performances was threatening the hopes the Eagles were having of finishing higher up in the table.

The game started with a great pace, mirroring the enthusiasm of the home and away crowds. Albirex Niigata FC started off with their trademark game plan as they passed the ball in and around themselves, keeping the majority of the possession to themselves.

Geylang International FC, however, were making the passing process for the home side harder as they pressured the man on the ball on every occasion they could. With the Eagles pressing higher up the pitch, the Albirex side had to resort to giving lobbed passes to the forward runs of the wingers and possession was squandered easily; the Geylang backline dealt with the aerial balls with relative ease.

It was the Eagles who were having the more threatening chances even though they had very little possession of the ball. Their precise passing lit up the stadium as they pushed forward in search of the first goal that would silence the home crowd.

As the minutes rolled on in the first half, the Eagles’ pressure on the ball was steadily decreasing as Albirex finally clicked into gear as they pushed out of their own half and started passing the ball around in the opponents’ half, waiting for the Eagles’ backline to make an error. Geylang International, however, were disciplined in their defending as they held their line and defended with bodies in the box.

It was with this stout defending that the away side held the home team at bay for the first half ending it at 0-0.

The second half started with the same vibe as the first half as both teams went in search for the opening goal. Albirex Niigata had upped the pace of the game a little with their short passes becoming much more sharper. They attempted more 1-2 passes with one another in an attempt to derail the Geylang backline.

Geylang International were on the defensive as they looked for opportunities to start the counter attack and push forward with pace. They were the ones that once again looked dangerous on their offensive runs as they attempted good shots on target. Despite the good forward play, the midfield was constantly outplayed by the Albirex side.

The introduction of Shotaro Ihata gave the Geylang frontline the much-needed physique, as he was very influential after being substituted. He constantly dropped deeper into the midfield to pick up the ball and lay it off to the wing before making his way forward once more to latch onto any pass into the box.

He even hit the crossbar on occasion and was denied superbly by the Albirex goalkeeper from a close range header.

Despite the classy attacking football that both sides were playing, neither team could find the goal that could have seen them take all 3 points as both sides shared a point each, leaving the stadium with a score of 0-0.

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