News • October 26, 2016

Eagles Come Narrowly Close To Achieving The Impossible


Written by: Ryan Low

Geylang International needed a five-goal margin, but only won by 4-1 on Tuesday night as Home United finished as the second-highest local team behind Tampines Rovers to qualify for next season’s AFC Cup.

Mark Hartmann’s early opener was cancelled out by Ken Ilso’s equaliser for Home, before the Eagles plundered three goals in the final 21 minutes.

However, it was still two goals short of their target as the Protectors held on to finish fourth at the Bedok Stadium on Tuesday night.

Geylang got off to the best possible start by scoring on six minutes, with former Global FC man Hartmann producing a stunning lob from the halfway line after spotting Home goalkeeper Eko Pradana off his line.

The Eagles pressed high up the pitch and almost forced a second goal on the half-hour mark, with Shawal Anuar’s snapshot from just inside the area crashing off the left-hand post.

Despite all their efforts, Hasrin Jailani’s side ended the first half with just a goal to show for.

They should have doubled their lead five minutes after the break, but Hartmann’s 20-yard free kick smacked against the right-hand post.

Home would punish them for their profligacy right from the breakaway, with Ilso slotting past Geylang custodian Syazwan Buhari from eight yards out to restore parity.

Despite that setback, Geylang were undeterred and eventually retook the lead on 69 minute.

Substitute Shahfiq Ghani thumped home from just outside the area for his first goal of the season after Yuki Ichikawa’s cross was half-cleared into his path.

The Eagles was then denied by the woodwork for a third time, with Sahil’s 20-yard snapshot on 82 minutes coming off the left-hand post.

Nonetheless, they kept pushing forward and extended their lead to 3-1 two minutes later with winger Gabriel Quak latching on to a long ball from Hartmann before rounding Eko to score.

Hasrin Jailani’s side got another one deep into injury time, with Daniel Bennett heading home Shahfiq’s teasing cross after a short corner.

However, time soon ran out for them as Home sealed the second AFC Cup qualifying spot at their expense.

Geylang International coach Hasrin Jailani: “We came in with the mentality of getting five goals and we had enough chances to score more than that, but maybe today’s not our day. But the players tried their best and played very well.

“Our team just picked up too late in the season. If we can hit form in the beginning of the season, we could have finished higher. But congratulations to Home for qualifying for the AFC Cup.”

Home United coach Aidil Sharin: “I’ve said that anything can happen in football and it’s always going to be a boost for them after they scored an early goal. They took their chances and we didn’t.

“I told them at half time ‘let’s play our football’ and not pump long balls. I hope the players can learn from this and there’s a lot of homework to be done for next season, even though we qualified for the AFC Cup. It’s been an up-and-down season and we want to finish higher next year.”

Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Isa Halim (C), Shariff Samat (Shahfiq Ghani 56’), Daniel Bennett, Stanely Ng (Gabriel Quak 39’), Mark Hartmann, Amy Recha, Shawal Anuar (Carlos Delgado 68’), Sahil Suhaimi

Home United: Eko Pradana (GK), Juma’at Jantan (C), Abdil Qaiyyim, Aqhari Abdullah (Syahiran Miswan 12’, Khairul Nizam 82’), Azhar Sairudin, Ken Ilso, Faris Ramli, Shamil Sharif, Shahrin Saberin, Zulfahmi Arifin (Mahathir Azeman 63’), Ambroise Begue