News • May 15, 2016

Cubrilo’s Brace Helps Eagles Condemn Tigers To Yet Another Defeat


Written by: Shawn Lim

A brace by Branko Cubrilo, sandwiched between a Carlos Delgado’s penalty, helped Geylang International defeat Balestier Khalsa 3-1 at Toa Payoh Stadium on Saturday night.

Prior to the match, the Croatian had gone 810 minutes without scoring a goal and there was relief on the striker’s face when he finally broke his duck to kick off the Eagles’ comeback after Fadhil Noh had given the hosts the lead.

Delgado then scored to put the Eagles ahead before Cubrilo netted the winning goal to help the visitors move up a spot in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table to fourth with 18 points and stretched their unbeaten run to three games.

Geylang made a good start at the ground where they endured a 2-2 draw on their previous visit when Shawal Anuar pounced on a loose ball after Balestier failed to deal with Gabriel Quak’s cross into the 18-yard box in the 12th minute.

However, Tigers custodian Zaiful Nizam got down well at his near post to turn away Shawal’s powerful drive from six-yards out.

The Tigers took the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute when Fadhil raced on to Fazli Ayob’s incisive pass and slotted the ball past the despairing dive of Eagles custodian Syazwan Buhari.

Geylang wasted a glorious opportunity to pull level four minutes later when Zaiful flapped at Delgado’s cross, but an unmarked Quak sent his shot into the side-netting with the goalmouth gaping.

Cubrilo then produced a stunning swerving effort from 20-yards out that found its way into the top corner to restore parity for the Eagles in the 39th minute.

There was a wonderful chance for the Tigers to take the lead again three minutes before the break when an unmarked Miroslav Kristic rose the highest to meet Smajovic Sadin’s cross, but the striker sent his header just over the crossbar.

The hosts emerged from the break re-focused and dangerous as they searched for a second goal and almost found it two minutes into the second period, but Fadhil’s speculative effort from 20-yards out came off the post.

Sadin was then guilty of missing gilt-edged chance a few minutes later when he made space for himself in the 18-yard box, but fired the ball wide of the mark despite having all the time in the world.

The Eagles were then awarded a penalty kick in the 66th minute after Nurullah Hussein dragged Quak to the ground and Delgado stepped up to send a well-taken spot-kick past Zaiful to give Geylang the lead for the first time in the game.

Cubrilo grabbed his brace 10 minutes later when the striker slammed the ball home from close range after Yuki Ichikawa headed on Faritz Hameed’s cross across the face of the goal.

Any hopes of Balestier coming back to salvage a point were dashed when Syafiq Zainal was given a straight red card for dangerous play in stoppage time, barely 20 minutes after coming on.

Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic: “It’s very frustrating. Really, we are trying our best, but things just don’t work.

“We didn’t have much problems, I didn’t see any problem to change. I think mostly, it’s individual mistakes for us and Geylang have lots of quality and individuals to turn the game.

“It’s tough. We need to work harder and stay positive.”

Geylang International coach Hasrin Jailani: “I think back-to-back victories are better than back-to-back draws.

“In the first round, we didn’t get the points we wanted. But I think this time round, hopefully the team is picking up nicely.

“The next game against Albirex (Niigata (S)) will be a very interesting one. Hopefully we can carry on.”

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Nurullah Hussein, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Ahmad Syahir, Emir Lotinac, Fazli Ayob, Smajovic Sadin (Syafiq Zainal 70′), Shah Hirul (Jamil Ali 75′), Fadhil Noh (Zulkiffli Hassim 70′), Miroslav Kristic

Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Daniel Bennett, Fartiz Hameed, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Shariff Samat 60′), Nor Azli Yusoff (C), Safirul Sulaiman (Taufiq Ghani 86′), Carlos Delgado (Amy Recha 77′), Gabriel Quak, Shawal Anuar, Branko Cubrilo