Eagles Fall To Narrow Defeat
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Geylang International’s hopes of a top four finish in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League suffered a snag after they were edged out 2-1 by Home United at Bishan Stadium on Saturday night.
Needing a point to seal fourth spot, a Faris Ramli winner midway through the second half condemned the Eagles to defeat after Gabriel Quak had cancelled out Stipe Plazibat’s opener.
With the result, Geylang remain three points clear of fifth-placed Warriors FC going into the final match of the season.
It was end-to-end stuff from the get-go with Izzdin Shafiq seeing his low shot parried by Syazwan Buhari after six minutes before Plazibat fired into the side-netting eight minutes later.
The tide soon swung in Geylang’s favour as Victor Coto first hit straight at Hassan Sunny before Shawal Anuar’s fierce volley was pushed around the post by the latter.
Coto would come agonisingly close to putting the Eagles ahead in the 24th minute when he headed narrowly over off Faritz Hameed’s right-wing cross.
Plazibat then spurned a glorious opportunity at the other end, somehow side-footing wide off Adam Swandi’s low cross.
There was no denying the Croatian hotshot just after the half-hour mark however, as he curled home a stupendous freekick into the top corner to take his tally to 25 league goals this season.
Plazibat had chances to further extend Home’s lead thereafter but was unable to beat Geylang custodian Syazwan as the Protectors took a slender one-goal advantage into half time.
But the visitors would level matters shortly into the second half as Quak cut in from the right before firing unerringly into the far corner past Hassan.
Shawal nearly put Geylang in front for the first time in the game in the 50th minute after he was played through on goal by Coto but his effort was over and wide.
Faris and Izzdin had further chances to restore their lead but they were unable to put their efforts on target although the former would make it 2-1 on 70 minutes.
After wriggling free in the box, Faris then finished into Syazwan’s bottom left corner for his 11th goal in the league this season.
Geylang went for broke in the final 15 minutes, pushing defender Yuki Ichikawa forward as they went in search of another leveller.
However, the closest the Eagles came to scoring in the 80th minute as Shawal poked one past an onrushing Hassan but Aqhari Abdullah was on hand to clear the ball away to safety.
The full time whistle went shortly after as Home hung on for their 15th league victory and look to end their season on a winning note when they face Tampines Rovers at Our Tampines Hub in their last game on 18 November.
For Geylang, they will be assured of fourth should they avoid defeat against Albirex Niigata (S) at Jalan Besar on the same day.
Home United Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “It was a hard fought victory for the team today as we knew Geylang were not going to an easy team to play. But I must give credit to the boys who performed superbly under the rainy conditions.
“In the first half, Geylang did well to contain us. After their equaliser, the boys started to wake up and pushed themselves because I could see they wanted to win the game. It could have been more than 2-1 but credit to the Geylang defence who did a good job.
“I was disappointed with the manner we conceded the goal shortly after the break, which gave the opponents confidence but the boys bounced back which was important.”
Geylang International Head Coach Noor Ali: “It was an entertaining game today and we did very well throughout. This is the kind of football that fans want to come and watch. I was happy with the performance but not so with the result because I thought we deserved a point.
“We were under a bit of pressure in the first half but we dealt well with the threat of Faris and Stipe. It was a good freekick from Plazibat, Syazwan couldn’t do anything about it. But I’m pleased we went out fighting against a team with so much quality.”
Home United: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Aqhari Abdullah, Irfan Fandi, Hariss Harun, Juma'at Jantan (Amiruldin Asraf 88’), Christopher van Huizen (Shamil Sharif 70’), M. Anumanthan (Iqram Rifqi 62’), Izzdin Shafiq, Adam Swandi, Faris Ramli, Stipe Plazibat Geylang International:
Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Yuki Ichikawa, Anders Aplin, Darren Teh (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 46’), Isa Halim (C) (Safirul Sulaiman 46’), Nor Azli Yusoff (Ifwat Ismail 76’), Ricardo Sendra, Gabriel Quak, Shawal Anuar, Victor Coto