News • August 5, 2016
Stags Overcome Gritty Eagles To Edge Closer To Summit
Written by: Ryan Low
Tampines Rovers cut the gap between them and leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to just one point after a nervy 2-1 win over Geylang International at the Jurong West Stadium on Thursday night.
All the goals came in an action-packed first half, with Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet putting the Stags two up before Mark Hartmann pulled one back for the Eagles. Despite a barrage of attacks from Geylang late on, Tampines held out for the crucial three points.
Akbar Nawas’ side dominated the early proceedings and went into the driving seat after 21 minutes. Webb collected Izzdin Shafiq’s volleyed pass, zipped past Al-Qaasimy Rahman before slotting past the onrushing Geylang goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari from close range.
The Stags doubled their lead in the 39th minute, with Mehmet rising the highest to nod home Pennant’s free kick from deep.
The provider’s evening was then cut short due to injury and had to be replaced by Yasir Hanapi. Geylang swiftly went on the counter and reduced arrears just three minutes later. Shawal Anuar got past a couple of Tampines defenders on the right byline, before squaring it for Hartmann to convert from unmissable range.
Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani then decided to make a triple substitution at half time as he brought Daniel Bennett, Sahil Suhaimi and Gabriel Quak into the fray.
The reshuffled Eagles side were unlucky not to get the equaliser six minutes into the second half, with Sahil’s 25-yard grounder coming back off the left-hand post with Tampines shot-stopper Izwan Mahbud beaten.
Roberto Camarasa then nodded wide from Quak’s inswinging cross into the box on 66 minutes, before the latter flicked a header wide from Sahil’s teasing corner 17 minutes later.
Hartmann then had an excellent chance deep into injury time when Yasir had brought down Sahil on the edge of the box, but the former Global forward could only hit the dead ball into the wall.
Time soon ran out for the luckless Eagles as they went down to their sixth league defeat of the season.
Tampines Rovers head coach Akbar Nawas: “I knew Geylang’s a very competitive team who would come at us, so players like Farra (Mustafic Fahrudin) did well to keep the boys calm in this game.
“There’s some parts of the game which I’m pleased with and some parts which I’m not. Definitely we’ve to work it out in training, especially how we conceded the goal.
“Overall we can do better, but hopefully this result put some pressure on Albirex.”
Geylang International head coach Hasrin Jailani: ““We lost focus for the first goal; they had time to switch the ball to our right side. For the second goal, it’s all because of marking. With Mehmet’s height there, we should be doing much better.
“Apart from them, the players did not do anything wrong; they played according to my instructions to counter by the flanks. If only we could get the first goal back earlier in the game, then the result could have been different.
“Now we have to forget this game and look forward to the next game against Brunei (DPMM). My target is to win all our last seven matches.”
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Jufri Taha, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Jermaine Pennant (Yasir Hanapi 42’), Fazrul Nawaz, Jordan Webb, Izzdin Shafiq, Hafiz Sujad (Afiq Yunos 90’), Shakir Hamzah, Irwan Shah, Billy Mehmet (Fabian Kwok 73’)
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Isa Halim (C) (Gabriel Quak 46’), Shariff Samat (Sahil Suhaimi 46’), Safirul Sulaiman, Stanely Ng, Mark Hartmann, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Daniel Bennett 46’), Shawal Anuar, Roberto Camarasa