Young Tigers Outworked Eagles To Record Third Victory
By Eagles Admin on 21 April 2015
Harimau Muda continued to surprise opponents with their dedication and determination as the Young Tigers, chalked up their third consecutive victory with a slender 2-1 win over Geylang International FC at the Hang Jebat Stadium on 20th April 2015.
Even with that emphatic win, due to their inferior goal difference, Harimau Muda remain in seventh place despite being level on nine points with fourth-placed Balestier Khalsa. On the other hand, Geylang are still in eighth position with five points after being on the receiving end of three back-to-back one goal marginal defeats.
The Young Tigers cruised to an early 2-0 lead, as Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula calmly converted a spot-kick attempt on the ninth minute, whilst Akhir Bahari doubled Harimau’s lead with an audacious lob which caught Yazid Yazin by surprise four minutes later. The Eagles finally reduced the deficit just before the break, with Jozef Kaplan unleashing an unstoppable free-kick straight into the top-corner of goal.
Geylang looked lethargic from the first whistle and were on the back foot with uncharacteristic passes in the first quarter of the match. However, Harimau started the game otherwise, in top gear and dominated possession well throughout the first-half.
The visitors’ Geylang, had a glorious chance to take the lead in the sixth minute through Bruno Castanheira’s effort. With some good dribbling skills and luck, Bruno managed to wrestle off his two markers and fire a relatively frail shot, which was comfortably gathered by Harimau’s custodian Ramdhan Hamid.
However, the Eagles were made to rue the missed chance as the Young Tigers pushed up in numbers to apply pressure and were awarded a penalty when Yuki Ichikawa needlessly dragged down Syafwan Syahlan inside the box. Up stepped Ridzuan, who blasted his attempt past Yazid Yazin to break the deadlock, despite the latter diving to the correct direction of the shot.
Harimau Muda were not done yet though. Within the next three minutes, the Malaysian based team were on the end of a counter-attack. Yuki Ichikawa did well in the defending aspect, but he made a poor clearance which Akhir pounced on and dispatched an audacious lob which caught Yazid Yazin off guard.
Trailing by two goals, Geylang did attempt to muster some form of fightback through Bruno Castanheira and Tatsuro Inui on two separate occasions. Firstly, Bruno connected well with Inui’s cross and the header went past the Harimau’s goalkeeper. However, the effort was denied by Syawal Nordin whom made a goal-line clearance to keep the eagles at bay.
Secondly, Tatsuro Inui made an intelligent run into the box, when Syed Thaha released a through ball to the playmaker. The Japanese fired a low yet powerful shot, but Ramdhan made a great save to parry the ball away for a corner-kick.
After missing the double chances, it was third time lucky for Geylang International as Jozef Kaplan launched a superb free-kick attempt to the top right-corner to pull a goal back for the Eagles, just before the half-time break.
After reducing the deficit with Kaplan’s wonder-strike, the game seemed destined for a Geylang’s revival and possible comeback in the second-half. Jorg Steinbrunner went for the offensive approach, when he introduced Hafiz Nor for Anaz Hadee right before the commencement of the second-half.
Despite the changes in formation and tactics, Geylang indeed played better and seemed more confident. However they still could not land the ball in the back of the net.
The Eagles then threw in another trump card in search for the coveted equalizer. The Eagles’ youngster, Shawal Anuar then checked in for Khairulnizam Jumahat in the 74th minute and the move almost paid its dividends.
An immediate impact by the new substitute, Shawal Anuar who was on the end of Bruno Castanheira’s pass inside the box and he fired a blistering volley. On the contrary, once again Ramdhan Hamid keeps Harimau Muda’s lead intact with a wonderful save.
The game also saw tempers flare as Geylang’s Yuki Ichikawa received a caution with a yellow card, for his late and reckless challenge on a Harimau Muda player, whom needed a stretcher to be carried out of play.
With four minutes of stoppage-time being added to the regulation of 90 minutes, Kaplan had the last chance to score the much sought after equalizer. However, the Slovakian international, was very unfortunate to have his long shot blazed way above the bar and into the empty stands, leaving Geylang to accept their third consecutive defeat despite their valiant performances.
Speaking after the game, Geylang International coach Jorg Steinbrunner, was very disappointed of the team’s performance and the final result. “We were Outworked, but not Outplayed! We don’t deserve anything out of this game, that’s straightforward. We didn’t do enough,” said Steinbrunner.
“In our past two defeats (to Albirex Niigata (S) and Brunei DPMM FC), perhaps there were some positives to take.
Steinbrunner furiously also added, “But tonight, there were none — the effort was just not good enough. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or foreign player. If this continues, then I’ll have no choice but to look at changing our players during the mid-season break.”
Over at Harimau Muda’s camp, Razip Ismail was extremely delighted winning three consecutive games and was singing praises of his team’s performances.
“Of course, I’m very happy with the result.” Razip said. “For us to win three games in a row is very good indeed. The boys were excellent in playing as a team together and playing with a high confidence level made the difference today,” added Razip.
Geylang International FC will now look forward to their next fixture against reigning S.League Champions, Warriors FC, at Bedok Stadium on 2nd May 2015!
Full Time : Harimau Muda (Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula 9′ [P], Akhir Bahari 12′) 2 – 1 (Jozef Kaplan 45′) Geylang International FC
EAGLES’ Editor Man Of The Match: Bruno Castanheira
Geylang International FC: Yazid Yasin (GK), Khairulnizam Jumahat (Shawal Anuar 74′), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Anaz Hadee (Hafiz Nor 46′), Syed Thaha, Tatsuro Inui, Hafiz Osman, Jozef Kaplan, Bruno Castanheira, Nor Azli.