Singapore Premier League • November 10, 2015
Eagles And Cheetahs Play Out Thrilling Draw
Written by: Shawn Lim
Geylang International and Hougang United played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Bedok Stadium on Monday evening.
The draw meant the the Eagles can go into their final game of the season with the certainty that regardless of the result, they will not be overtaken by the Cheetahs, who are rooted to the bottom of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table.
A slow start to the match offered little hint of what was to follow as the net was bulged four times in a spell of 18 minutes just before the final whistle.
Geylang were the first to settle into the game as they established their tempo and threatened occasionally on the counter-attack.
Bruno Castanheira was able to nick the ball off Yuki Uchiyama in the box in the eighth minute and he laid it off to Jozef Kaplan, whose initial shot was blocked before he fired the rebound wide of the mark.
Tatusro Inui then chipped a beautifully-weighted pass to Shawal Anuar in the 19th minute and sent the latter through on goal, but Hougang custodian Ridhuan Bahrudin was quick off his line to claim the ball before the 23-year-old could get to it.
Geylang’s attempts at controlling possession had limited the Cheetahs’ openings, but Diego Gama almost opened the scoring for the visitors against the run of play in the 24th minute when Ruzaini Zainal’s cross into the box from deep found the Brazilian.
Despite being inches away from goal, the 32-year-old striker was unable to keep his header down.
Inui subsequently missed a glorious opportunity to give Geylang the lead three minutes later when his curling free-kick fizzed just wide of Ridhuan’s far post.
Shawal was unlucky not to fire the Eagles ahead in the 30th minute when he was allowed to run unchallenged to the edge of the box, but he saw his thunderous drive flew just wide of the goal.
Inui came close with a free-kick which was punched cleared by Ridhuan four minutes after the interval, but chances were few in the early part of the second period until Castanheira’s side-footed volley from close range went horribly wide two minutes after the hour mark.
Shawal’s fruitless quest to get on the scoresheet continued as he sliced Syed Thaha’s cross wide in the 64th minute despite being unmarked in the 18-yard box.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute when the entire Hougang backline went to sleep and allowed Shawal to sneak in at the far post to meet Inui’s free-kick and score for the second S.League match in a row.
Geylang’s delight at going ahead was short lived when Syed conceded a penalty four minutes later after bringing down substitute Vuk Sotirovic and the Serbian picked himself to convert the spot-kick.
The Eagles should have reclaimed the lead in the 81st minute when Kaplan went through on goal after leaving Kenneth Chang for dead but could only fire his shot at the side-netting.
In an end-to-end finish to the match, Hougang went ahead for the first time in the game in stoppage time when Fareez Farhan’s deflected shot in the 18-yard box was deemed to have crossed the line.
There was still time for Geylang to grab the equaliser though, and a long punt out of defence from Hafiz Osman found Hafiz Nor, who immediately sent an unmarked Castanheira through on goal.
The Japanese striker took a touch and then slammed the ball into the net with aplomb before the final whistle came minutes later.
Geylang International: Yazid Yasin (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Nor Azli (Anaz Hadee 58’), Hafiz Osman, Syed Thaha, Shawal Anuar, Tatsuro Inui (Shah Hirul 85’), Hafiz Nor, Jozef Kaplan (C), Bruno Castanheira
Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Delwinder Singh, Faizal Amir, Kunihiro Yamashita, Yuki Uchiyama (Kenneth Chang 44’), Atsushi Shimono, Ruzaini Zainal (Haidil Sufian 70’), Fazli Jaffar, Fareez Farhan, Nurhilmi Jasni (C), Diego Gama (Vuk Sotirovic 66’)