League Cup • July 16, 2014

Eagles Stuns Warriors in Cup


Written by: Khalis Rifhan

Warriors FC ended their StarHub League Cup Group B campaign as runners-up as they were stunned 4-0 by Geylang International in their final group match at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The win means Geylang top the group and will next face Albirex Niigata (S) in the quarter-finals while Warriors will meet Tanjong Pagar United this Friday, 18 July 2014.

With qualification to the next round certain following their win over Tampines Rovers in their first match, coach Alex Weaver decided to give a run-out to his reserves and Prime League players with their starting lineup averaging 23 years of age.

Marin Vidosevic captained the side alongside Nur Asyidiq Sukarto in the heart of defence while Warriors put faith in 20-year-old old Raden Ishmadi and Chang Guo Guang in attack.

Despite the massive tinkering in the hosts’ line-up, the Eagles failed to dominate proceedings and were caught on the back-foot in the opening stages of the first half.

Dharham Aziz was given a free reign to run across the field but twice he shot straight towards Geylang’s goalkeeper Joey Sim from the edge of the box.

In the 23rd minute, Raden Ismail skipped past Joaquin Lopez down the right flank and delivered a teasing low ball to the middle but there was no blue shirt to connect with the ball in the six-yard box.

Midway through the match, Jorg Steinebrunner’s charges began to take control of the game and surged forward in numbers, slicing through the inexperienced Warriors’ defence.

Captain Ridhuan Muhammad whizzed past Basit Mansoor with ease down the right side but his thunderous effort was punched away by Neezam.

But that save counted for nothing as Neezam turned villain in the 35th minute and gave away a cheap goal to the opponents.

The second-choice custodian, standing in for Hassan Sunny who is away with the Singapore team in Austria, failed to handle Kento Fukuda’s header cleanly as he flapped the ball into his own net.

The Eagles took a one-goal lead into the dressing room but they did not have to wait long to double their tally after the half-time interval.

Four minutes from the restart, Thorsten Schneider evaded the offside trap and chested Jalal’s long ball in the penalty box. Left with unmarked and with only the goalkeeper to beat, the German made no mistake as he blasted it beyond Neezam to make it 2-0 for the Bedok-based club.

Despite trailing by two goals, Weaver were not in a hurry to send attacking reinforcement. Instead the Englishman brought on right-back Ismail Yunos in place of Vidosevic at the hour mark.

An injury to Gavin Tan forced Weaver to bring on Shi Jiayi in the 75th minute. The ex-Singapore international almost made an instant impact but his header was tipped away acrobatically by Joey three minutes later.

The hosts conceded a third goal in final stages of the match as substitute Fuad Ramli’s harmless effort from the edge of the box crept through Neezam’s underside of the body and into the back of the net in the 86th minute.

There was still time for a fourth goal as Hafiz Nor zipped past his markers and slotted the ball to the bottom corner.