What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We will find out on Wednesday night. For there will be a clash of the giants when Geylang International visit Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh Stadium, as two of the biggest imports in the AIA Singapore Premier League will go toe-to-toe in an intriguing showdown between Eagles striker Sylvano Comvalius and Balestier defender Ensar Bruncevic.
In the green corner, Comvalius, a towering 1.92m Dutchman, comes with a wealth of experience, having played for 18 clubs in 11 countries before arriving in Singapore. Scoring almost everywhere he went, his breakthrough season came in 2017 when he thumped in 37 goals in 34 games for Bali United and won the Golden Boot in the Indonesian league.
And the 33-year-old has already made an impression with a thunderbolt of a strike in the 1-1 draw against Young Lions in March, and being dominant in attacking and defending set-pieces.
In the red corner stands Bruncevic, who is 11 years younger at 22, and four centimetres taller at 1.96m. Scouted and picked up from Serbia, the strapping centre-back has half an SPL season under his belt as he also started strong last year, scoring three goals in five games before he was ruled out by injury.
While Bruncevic has not opened his account this season after four games, he has gradually grown into the game after a shaky start when the Tigers were held to a 3-3 draw by Young Lions before losing 2-1 to Tampines Rovers. Since then, they have gone 200 minutes without conceding, as they held champions Albirex Niigata to a goalless draw before thumping Tanjong Pagar 4-0.
Comvalius is looking forward to the challenge, and said: “Throughout my career, I always want to test myself against good teams and good players. I’m blessed to have done so in Europe and Asia, and there are good local and foreign players in the SPL too. I’m confident in my abilities in one-on-one battles, but it is not just about individual duels. What is most important is the team play well and win.”
The Eagles will be desperate to halt their three-game winless run against opponents who did the double against them but ultimately fell in the race for fourth place and the final AFC Cup spot last season.
Geylang coach Noor Ali said: “Even though we lost 1-0 to Albirex in our last game, we played better than in the loss to Hougang and the draw with Young Lions. The turnaround time is short, but that is the same for both teams and there will be some changes. But I expect the same high level of commitment from everyone to get us the win we need.”