News • July 26, 2016
The New Paper League Cup 2016: Hartmann The Saviour As Eagles Through To Plate Final
Written by: Shawn Lim
A free-kick by Mark Hartmann right at the death helped Geylang International defeat Warriors FC 1-0 in a tight The New Paper League Cup Plate semi-final clash at Bedok Stadium on Monday night.
Geylang will now meet Hougang United in the Plate final on Saturday after the Cheetahs beat Balestier Khalsa 2-1 in the other semi-final.
The hosts began the match quietly, but their first attack almost led to the opening goal on 20 minutes when Shawal Anuar drifted in from the left before picking out Carlos Delgado on the edge of the box, but the Argentinian fired narrowly wide of the mark.
Shawal then chose to shoot from the left flank instead of crossing to an unmarked Mark Hartmann in the box eight minutes later, which left the striker visibly frustrated after Warriors custodian Basil Chan easily gathered the ball.
The Eagles came close again on 33 minutes when a beautiful over-the-top ball from Delgado picked out the run of Shawal who was cutting into the 18-yard box from the left, but Chan was quick off his line to close the winger down.
The nippy Shawal was in the thick of the action again four minutes later when he was left unmarked to meet Stanely Ng’s cross from the byline, but sent his header over the crossbar from eight-yards out.
The visitors found clear-cut goalscoring opportunities hard to come by and Geylang custodian Hairul Syirhan was not tested until two minutes before the break when he had to beat away Hafiz Rahim’s curling free-kick at his near post.
Geylang however, wasted no time in testing Chan again after the break as the goalkeeper had to get down well to block Hartmann’s low and hard free-kick on 49 minutes, before parrying away Delgado’s 20-yard piledriver three minutes later.
Warriors had an opportunity to break the deadlock against the run of play two minutes after the hour mark when Kento Fukuda rose the highest to meet Hafiz Rahim’s corner-kick, but Isa Halim was in the right time and place to clear the ball off the line.
Anders Aplin was next to try his luck for Geylang on 68 minutes when he climbed above Hafiz Osman to meet Shawal’s corner-kick, but his header crept narrowly over the crossbar and landed on the roof of the net.
The Eagles continued to probe and came a whisker away from finding the net on 70 minutes when Ng made a late run into the box to nod on Hartmann’s cross at goal after Warriors failed to properly clear the latter’s corner-kick, but Chan was able to smother the ball on the line.
Just as it looked like the match was heading for a penalty shootout, Hartmann stepped up and sent a trademark free-kick past the despairing dive of Chan and into the bottom corner of the net to seal victory for the Eagles.
Geylang International coach Hasrin Jailani: “We did well defensively in the first-half, but going forward, we created few chances because the support was a little bit slow.
“I told the players to push up more, with some urgency in the second-half. We defended well and create more chances, but we left it late to seal victory.”
Warriors FC coach Razif Onn: “I am very disappointed we lost by the free-kick because it was a very even game for me.
“I didn’t see any threat from them, even from my team, but we defended well when they pressed us. So I don’t think that was a free-kick, because it didn’t look like a foul to me.”
Geylang International: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Shariff Samat, B.Jeevakumaran (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 65′), Isa Halim (C), Carlos Delgado (Nor Azli Yusoff 65′), Shawal Anuar, Stanely Ng, Umar Akhbar (Hairy Jamal 78′), Mark Hartmann
Warriors FC: Basil Chan (GK), Ismail Yunos, Kento Fukuda (C), Shaiful Esah, Hafiz Osman, Jeremy Chiang, Syaqir Sulaiman (Poh Yi Feng 87′), Ridhuan Muhamad, Hafsyar Farkhan, Hafiz Rahim, Marijan Suto (Danial Zulkifli 67′)