News • July 23, 2016
The New Paper League Cup 2016: Eagles Fall Short Despite Shock Win
Written by: Ryan Low
Geylang International stunned Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 at the Bedok Stadium on Friday night, but were edged out of a place in The New Paper League Cup semi-finals by Home United due to inferior goal difference.
Shawal Anuar’s first-half stunner separated the two sides in the end, but Albirex still hung on for top spot in Group B and will meet Tampines Rovers in the semi-finals.
The odds were stacked against Geylang in this game, given that they were missing several first-team players.
However, the reshuffled Eagles side seem bent on proving a point and almost scored after just four minutes. Mark Hartmann released Shawal through on goal, but Albirex stand-in goalkeeper Eita Kasagawa timed his run out of goal well to foil the latter.
Albirex slowly settled into the affair and went close six minutes later, with Tatsuro Inui’s 30-yard free kick bringing the best out of Geylang custodian Hairul Syirhan.
Tadaaki Yazawa then hit the woodwark with an over-hit cross, but it was Geylang who managed to break the deadlock two minutes after the half-hour mark.
Kasagawa’s attempted clearance only managed to find Shawal, who wasted little time in producing a stupendous lob from 35 yards out that evaded two backtracking Albirex defenders before landing in goal.
Albirex took some time to regroup and were largely on top of proceedings in the second half, but the Geylang backline stood tall to intercept the dangerous deliveries that came into their area and shut out big forward Kazuki Mine.
The White Swans almost sneaked in an equaliser on 70 minutes via a goalmouth melee, but Geylang captain Isa Halim was on hand to hack off the line.
Naoki Naruo’s side went the closest four minutes later, with Inui’s speculative 20-yard drive flying just wide of the left-hand post.
Geylang eventually held on for the three points, which enabled them to finish third in Group B and set up a meeting with Warriors FC in the Plate semi-finals.
Geylang International head coach Hasrin Jailani: “Coming back from the 5-0 defeat to Home wasn’t an easy thing. It wasn’t the strongest Albirex side, but there were still quality players out there.
“The players showed a lot of character. They played according to how I want them to play. They made sure they were collective as a defensive unit and they really worked their socks off. We’ll try to win the Plate because we want to win something as a club this year.”
Albirex Niigata (S) head coach Naoki Naruo: “I thought we could showed more of our football tonight, but perhaps due to the weather and pitch condition, we did not perform well.
“We’re looking forward to playing Tampines in the semi-finals. We lost the last time we faced them, so this is a good time for us to avenge that defeat. The team’s condition is very good now and we’ll show our best in that game.”
Geylang International: Hairul Syirhan (GK), B. Jeevakumaran, Shariff Samat, Yuki Ichikawa, Anders Aplin, Isa Halim (C), Robert Camarasa (Taufiq Ghani 67’), Umar Akhbar (Julien Prince 76’), Shawal Anuar, Mark Hartmann, Stanely Ng (Indra Sahdan 89’)
Albirex Niigata (S): Eita Kasagawa (GK), Mikiya Yamada (Naofumi Tanaka 65’), Kento Fujihara, Shuto Inaba, Tomoki Menda, Kazuki Mine, Tatsuro Inui (C), Tadaaki Yazawa, Ryoh Kurihara, Hiroyoshi Kamata (Ryuki Matsuya 87’), Rui Kumada