News • July 11, 2017

The New Paper League Cup 2017: Ifwat Hat-Trick Sinks Tampines

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Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Substitute Ifwat Ismail struck a hat-trick as Geylang International ran out 4-1 winners over Tampines Rovers in their The New Paper League Cup Group B clash at Jurong West Stadium on Tuesday night.

The result sealed the Eagles’ progress into the semi-finals of the competition at the expense of the Stags who now only have pride to play for when they take on Balestier Khalsa on Friday night.

Geylang head coach Noor Ali made two changes from the side that beat Balestier, with Faritz Hameed and Shahfiq Ghani coming in for Safirul Sulaiman and Noor Ariff.

Tampines meanwhile, brought in Ehvin Sasidharan, Andi Agus and Irwan Shah for Ismadi Mukhtar, Jamil Ali and Syed Haziq.

The visitors had an early chance to open the scoring but Amy Recha nodded wide off Shawal Anuar’s cross at the near post after four minutes.

Tampines had an opportunity of their own minutes later, but Fazrul Nawaz could only stab inches wide of the upright after taking advantage of a weak header from Yuki Ichikawa.

The Eagles came close twice in the space of two minutes, with Ichikawa heading wide from a Shahfiq cross in the 24th minute before Amy lashed well wide two minutes later.

Hafiz Sujad was then guilty of missing a host of chances to put Tampines in front.

First, the 26-year-old was denied by the legs of Geylang custodian Syazwan Buhari in the 33rd minute before he headed over from an Irwan cross five minutes later.

The left-sided player then spurned a glorious opportunity just before half-time, somehow blazing over with only the keeper to beat after he was put through on goal.

The game sprang into life after the restart and it was Ifwat who broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute.

Latching onto a through pass from Shawal, the Singapore Under-20 forward raced clear of his marker before calmly slotting past an onrushing Joey Sim.

Fazrul Nawaz could have levelled matters for Jurgen Raab’s men seven minutes after the opener but saw his header at point-blank kept out by Syazwan.

Tampines would however equalise in the 63rd minute when Fazli Ayob’s freekick from the left crept into Syazwan’s near post to make it 1-1.

Their joys were short-lived though, as Geylang went ahead again almost immediately at the other end with Ifwat sending a firm downward header past Sim.

It became 3-1 in the 68th minute as Amy Recha pounced on a loose ball to fire past a hapless Sim from inside the box.

Tampines tried to find a way back but all they could muster was a low drive from substitute Khairul Nizam which went straight into the arms of Syazwan nine minutes from time.

Ifwat would complete the scoring with five minutes remaining as he got onto the end of Shawal’s low cross and cut inside his marker before curling home a low finish to take home the match ball.

Geylang and Brunei DPMM are now on six points after two games played with the Eagles trailing on goal difference, and will contest for top spot when they face off at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.

Tampines Rovers Head Coach Jurgen Raab: “Despite the defeat, I was satisfied with the performance today.

“With the chances we had in the first-half, we should have been up by two goals. On the other hand, we were also too open at the back; we allowed Geylang to counter with long balls behind the defence and we were punished.

“We must learn from our mistakes and I’m hoping for a better performance and a good result to boot against Balestier.”

Geylang International Head Coach Noor Ali: “In the first-half Tampines had a game plan which is to  defend and go on the counter. They had two chances and could have scored. The second-half performance was much better.

“I had confidence in Ifwat all this while. After all, he’s been with me in the Prime League for a while already and he’s a hardworking boy who has improved a lot. I was not surprised when he came on to score the three goals.

“It’s nice to see this happening; he’s been mentioned a lot over the past few days and hopefully this will give him a chance of making the SEA Games squad.”

Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim (GK), Ehvin Sasidharan (Ismadi Mukhtar 68’), Hafiz Rahim (C), Andi Agus, Jufri Taha, Faizal Raffi (Khairul Nizam 59’), Danish Uwais, Fazli Ayob, Hafiz Sujad, Irwan Shah, Fazrul Nawaz

Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Yuki Ichikawa, Anders Aplin, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Shawal Anuar, Ricardo Sendra, Nor Azli Yusoff (C), Gabriel Quak (Ifwat Ismail 46’), Shahfiq Ghani (Isa Halim 32’), Amy Recha