Kanan Downcast After Tampines Defeat
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Geylang International slumped to yet another defeat as they fell 3-0 to defending champions Tampines Rovers at the Clementi Stadium on Sunday evening. This result leaves the Eagles rooted at the bottom of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League point without both a point and a win.
First-half strikes from Miljan Mrdakovic, Luis Closa and Aleksandar Duric were enough for Tampines to seal all three points and propel them back to the summit although they trail Brunei DPMM on goal difference.
Speaking after the match, Geylang head coach Vedhamuthu Kanan was visibly disappointed.
He said: “We were lucky not to have conceded more goals and our tactics didn’t work in the first-half. We wanted to be very defensive and let them come at us but they [Tampines] obviously had their own plans.
“I told them that we had nothing to lose in the second-half, we are 3-0 down so we must come out and play. We were able to play and match them a little bit in the second half [which was] something to take back. We still can play if we want to play.”
He also bemoaned the absence of his Japanese defenders Kento Fukuda and Yuki Ichikawa, whom he believed would have made a difference if they had taken to the field.
“I think they will return in two weeks’ time when we play Brunei DPMM,” he shared.
“We miss them already. They’ve only played together for one match during the three games this season. It makes a lot of difference to the backline, if Kento and Ichi were playing as it would allow us to play more confidently at the back.”
Explaining his decision to play goalkeeper Siddiq Durimi at the heart of defence, Kanan said: “I don’t have a centre-back as Fabian [Kwok] and the two Japanese are also injured meaning that the three options at centre-back are all out and I don’t have any option.
“I don’t have a Prime League player who is strong enough and I didn’t want to take the risk to play another Prime League player in an already inexperienced backline.
“I thought Siddiq did very well and worked his socks off and although he cramped [towards the end], he recovered very fast for the counter-attacks. He did very well.”
Tampines coach Salim Moin meanwhile was satisfied with what he saw from his players but admitted they were wasteful in front of goal.
“It was an excellent performance from the boys today and they played according to the game plan today,” he said.
“The interesting part is that they are keeping ball possession very confidently and that’s good to see.
“Of course [I was disappointed to see only three goals scored]. They have to know that if they can score, they must [take their chances]. As you can see, they missed so many sitters and naturally they felt very disappointed.
“But the overall performance was very interesting to see. They did what they were supposed to do, with good movement and switching play.”
With games coming thick and fast for his team, the ex-international was worried they could be worn out by all the travelling.
“My [only] concern for the team is fatigue,” he said.
“The players have been travelling and the matches are too close to each other and that’s a concern for me. But today they responded very well so hopefully they will be able to put up a good performance on Wednesday [against Pune FC in the AFC Cup] before we see what the situation is like when we play DPMM.”