Singapore Premier League • February 24, 2014
Warriors Sink Depleted Geylang
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Warriors FC got their 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League campaign off to a winning start as they registered a 2-1 win over Geylang International at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Sunday night.
It was a game for the debutants of the respective teams with Hafiz Rahim and Irwan Shah scoring a goal each for the Warriors while Hafiz Nor pulled a goal back for the visitors at the death although it proved to be a little too late.
Geylang started the match under undesirable circumstances, with only two outfield players on the bench. Kento Fukuda, and K.Sathiaraj were out with injuries, while Mustaqim Manzur is down with fever and Leonel Felice is yet to received his employment pass.
With Felice out of the match, coach V.Kanan opted for Ridhuan Muhammad in the striker’s role while Franco Chilivo provided support from midfield.
Defender Abdil Qaiyyim’s sudden termination from the squad few days prior to the match had no adverse effect on Alex Weaver’s side as captain Daniel Bennett marshalled the backline with ease alongside Marin Vidosevic.
Meanwhile, Warriors’ new foreign recruits namely Thomas Beattie, Miroslav Pejic, Nicholas Velez and Kevin McCann did not have any problems adapting to the team style of play and were involved in most of the action.
Early in the game, Velez showed his nifty footwork on the flank and although he managed to slip past his marker, his cross into the dangerous area was dealt with swiftly by Yuki Ichikawa.
While it was a pretty even match in terms of possession, the visitors’ defensive duo of Ichikawa and Joaquin Lopez had a hard time halting Warriors advancement into the attacking third.
Warriors’ hard work finally paid off in the 28th minute when Hafiz won a freekick down the left flank. The former Home United player stepped up for the set-piece and delivered a fantastic curler to the top corner, beyond the flailing arms of Geylang goalkeeper Joey Sim.
Hafiz thought he had added his team’s second 10 minutes later but assistant referee Nathan Chan had flagged him offside.
Trailing by a goal at half-time, Kanan brought on winger Jonathan Tan for Fabian Kwok at the start of the second half to inject some pace. The change however did not yield its intended outcome as the Eagles went further behind on the hour mark.
Pejic knocked the ball onto the path of Velez and the latter burst into the penalty box before sending the ball to the far post for ex-LionsXII player Irwan to tap home from close range.
Although they were down by two goals, the Eagles did not let their game down and were rewarded with a consolation goal in injury time as former Tanjong Pagar midfielder, Hafiz Nor curled an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box which sailed over Hassan Sunny.
Alex Weaver will be without Marin Vidosevic for their trip to Brunei, to take on Steve Kean’s side on 28 February, as he was sent off by referee Sukhbir Singh for a second bookable offence towards the end of the game.
As for Kanan, he will be hoping for a full squad at his disposal for their next match against Home United on 1 March at Bishan Stadium.