With three hard-earned points in the bag, Geylang International will look to build on their fine start to the Singapore Premier League season when they visit Hougang United tonight.
There were plenty of positives in the Eagles’ 2-1 win over Tanjong Pagar last Sunday, despite seeing influential Dutch midfielder Barry Maguire stretchered off with a hamstring injury.
His replacement, Brazilian forward Matheus Moresche, was an instant hit with two goals, and even though Geylang coach Noor Ali insisted his new signing is not fully fit, the 22-year-old could still feature in the latter stages of the upcoming game.
The Eagles’ coach paid tribute to how his team kept their focus and discipline, in contrast to last season’s opener when they had two men sent off in the 4-0 defeat by eventual champions Albirex Niigata.
He said: “Of course, it was disappointing to concede just two minutes after we scored the first goal, but full credit to the boys for sticking to the plan afterwards and their hunger to fight for maximum points.
“We had quite a few players unavailable, so it was pleasing to see that despite this, we were still able to hit the road running. It is always better to rack up as many wins and points early on than to be chasing later in the season, and we hope to build some momentum from here.”
While Geylang came away from Hougang Stadium 2-1 winners last season thanks to a Christopher van Huizen brace that was aided by goalkeeping blunders, Noor Ali is under no illusions that they will have a positive result handed to them again.
He said: “Such things happen, but lightning rarely strikes the same spot twice, and we cannot depend on such situations to win games.
“Hougang are a good side and you will hear this many times, but most games will be evenly matched this season, and we are expecting a good and tough match.”
The Cheetahs were up against it when they lost 3-1 to Albirex last Saturday, although Eagles goalkeeper Zainol Gulam and his defence will have noted Hougang’s attacking threat as they managed to take 12 shots against Albirex and get seven on target, one of which was a wonder strike from 18-year-old debutant midfielder Jarrel Ong.