Singapore Premier League • May 9, 2018

Ifwat strikes late Young Lions equaliser on Geylang return


The former Eagle striker salvaged a point for the visitors to prevent the hosts getting a first league win

Ifwat Ismail came off the bench to score his first Young Lions goal.

SINGAPORE, 9 MAY 2018Ifwat Ismail struck late to deny former club Geylang International FC their first win of the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) as the Young Lions came from behind to record a 1-1 draw at Bedok Stadium on Wednesday night.

Shawal Anuar’s early strike looked to be enough for the Eagles to notch three points but Ifwat, who came on in the 69th minute, broke the hearts of the home fans nine minutes from time.

Coming into the encounter on the back of a 5-0 drubbing by Albirex Niigata FC (S) slightly over a week ago, it took the hosts just eight minutes to open the scoring.

Shawal latched onto Jufri Taha’s ball over the top and controlled it superbly, before finishing with aplomb past Young Lions custodian Hairul Syirhan from a tight angle.

The away side could have drawn level on 14 minutes, but Hami Syahin’s lob landed on the roof of the net.

They came close again just before the half-hour mark as Rusyaidi Salime’s through pass found Zulqarnaen Suzliman, but the latter could only fire straight at Zainol Gulam.

Naqiuddin Eunos then spurned two opportunities, first being denied by Zainol in a one-on-one in the 32nd minute before the 21-year-old poked over at the far post six minutes later.

The Geylang defence had their hearts in their mouths in the 59th minute when Darren Teh’s headed clearance fell to Zulqarnaen, whose shot was inches wide.

Fumiya Kogure could have put the game to bed with 13 minutes remaining, but volleyed straight at Hairul from point-blank range after good work down the right from Shawal.

They were made to pay for that miss as substitute Ifwat fired a shot that Zainol inexplicably made a hash of, allowing the ball to trickle in.

With the result, Fandi Ahmad’s side remain in sixth with seven points from four games and will host leaders Albirex next Wednesday.

Geylang, meanwhile, stay rooted at the bottom with two points from seven games and will continue their search for their first victory when they take on another win-less side in Hougang United FC at Hougang Stadium on Saturday.

Geylang Head Coach Hirotaka Usui: “I’m not going to blame the goalkeeper (for the mistake), because it is my responsibility (as the Head Coach).

“Young Lions showed good technique and have players with good ability. I’m definitely not satisfied with the result, because I wanted the win today. We will however, learn from this and tell the players not to allow our opponents time and space in the box.”

Young Lions Head Coach Fandi Ahmad: “It was difficult for us to play at Bedok Stadium today. You could see they didn’t want us to play but I changed things in the second-half, where I switched the formation to a 4-3-3 and pressed their centre-backs, who (then) couldn’t pump the ball as much.

“The boys showed good fighting spirit and quick counter-attacking, but we always (have a tendency) of starting late. We could have gotten the win at the end but all in all, it was a fair result because Geylang didn’t have good chances in this match either.”

Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Darren Teh, Jufri Taha, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Danish Irfan (Yeo Hai Ngee 76’), Ryan Syaffiq, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Fuad Ramli (Cameron Bell 90’), Fairoz Hasan (Azhar Sairudin 85’), Shawal Anuar, Fumiya Kogure.
Unused subs: Syed Syazwan (GK), Sadiq Abdul Rahim, Ryson Yap, Noor Ariff.

Young Lions: : Hairul Syirhan (GK), Prakash Raj, Irfan Fandi (R. Aaravin 68’), Taufiq Muqminin (C), Syahrul Sazali, Zulqarnaen Suzliman (Naufal Azman 79’), Rusyaidi Salime, Joshua Pereira, Naqiuddin Eunos (Ifwat Ismail 69’), Hami Syahin, Ikhsan Fandi.
Unused subs: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Adam Hakeem, Amer Hakeem, Asshukrie Wahid.

Get your tickets for ALL Singapore Premier League games at!