Singapore Premier League • July 30, 2014

Eagles Keen For Revenge Against Balestier


Geylang International vs Balestier Khalsa

(July 31, Thursday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Geylang International and Balestier Khalsa turn their attentions back to the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League as they square off at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening in a rematch of the RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final clash.

Balestier emerged 4-3 winners on penalties in that game after the scores were tied after extra-time and Geylang will be keen to avenge for that defeat with a win here.

While a top-half finish is certainly out of reach for the Eagles, their opponents still have an outside chance of doing so.

RHB Singapore Cup semi-finalists Balestier trail sixth-placed Home United by eight points with four games to go before the league table splits into two and will be gunning for all three points to keep their hopes alive for a top-six finish.

In the recently-concluded StarHub League Cup however, it has been mixed for both teams.

While defending champions Balestier finished as Plate runners-up, Geylang were knocked out by Brunei DPMM in the last four of the competition although they can come into this with their heads held high after beating Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC in the group stages.

On the pitch, Eagles’ new signing Thorsten Schneider has wasted no time in introducing himself to the league and he is one to watch apart from strike partner Leonel Felice while Balestier can count on Goran Ljubojevic for the goods with the forward having already scored 15 goals this term.

But the Tigers’ task will not be made easier without South Korean Park Kang Jin who is suspended after picking up his fourth yellow card of the campaign and the playmaker’s absence could hurt their chances.

Suspensions: Fabian Kwok (Geylang International); Yusiskandar Yusop, Park Kang Jin (Balestier Khalsa).

Key Men To Watch

Geylang International: Hafiz Nor

A speedy merchant, Hafiz has the knack of scoring spectacular goals with his most recent victim being Albirex Niigata (S) in the League Cup.

But most importantly, it is his direct running which can also cause problems for opponents. It remains to be seen if Jorg Steinebrunner will start Hafiz from the bench or hand him a berth in the first eleven but whatever it is, he has the ability to cause damage and will be one to watch.

Balestier Khalsa: Jonathan Xu

While the likes of Park Kang Jin and Goran Ljubojevic have been earning the plaudits for their goalscoring feats, Xu has been quietly doing the defensive work just in front of the back four alongside Tajeli Salamat.

With an InStat score of 97, he won 79% of his challenges against Tampines Rovers in their 2-0 defeat in their last league match and more of this will be needed to stop a Geylang side who possess a pretty potent strikeforce in Schneider and Felice.

The former Tanjong Pagar United man also has an eye for a pass, with 77% of his passes finding its intended target.

Geylang International – LWWWL

21/7/14    Geylang International (0) 0-0 (3P) Brunei DPMM (StarHub League Cup SF)

18/7/14    Geylang International 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (StarHub League Cup QF)

15/7/14    Warriors FC 0-4 Geylang International (StarHub League Cup Group B)

7/7/14      Geylang International 2-1 Tampines Rovers (StarHub League Cup Group B)

2/7/14      Geylang International (3) 1-0 (4p) (AET) Balestier Khalsa (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)

Balestier Khalsa – LWDLW

24/7/14    Tampines Rovers 3-0 Balestier Khalsa (StarHub League Cup Plate Final)

19/7/14    Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Singapore Recreation Club (StarHub League Cup Plate SF)

11/7/14    Brunei DPMM 2-2 Balestier Khalsa (StarHub League Cup Group D)

8/7/14      Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Hougang United (StarHub League Cup Group D)

2/7/14      Geylang International (3) 1-0 (4p) (AET) Balestier Khalsa (RHB Singapore Cup QF 2nd Leg)

Head to Head (S.League)

17/4/14    Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Geylang International

16/5/13    Geylang International 2-2 Balestier Khalsa

26/2/13    Balestier Khalsa 1-0 Geylang International

23/8/12    Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Geylang International

23/3/12    Geylang International 3-1 Balestier Khalsa

8/9/11      Geylang International 3-2 Balestier Khalsa

25/5/11    Balestier Khalsa 3-1 Geylang International

11/3/11    Geylang International 0-3 Balestier Khalsa