News • July 31, 2016

The New Paper League Cup 2016: Eagles Claim Plate After Keeping Cheetahs At Bay


Written by: Shawn Lim

Geylang International claimed the The New Paper League Cup 2016 Plate trophy after defeating 10-man Hougang United 2-1 in the Plate final at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday evening.

Mark Hartmann and Shawal Anuar gave the designated visitors a two-goal lead half an hour into the game, before Jozef Kaplan pulled a goal back for the hosts minutes before the interval.

It was the Cheetahs who carved out a host of chances in the opening exchanges and their first opportunity came inside a minute of the game when Kaplan brought down Faliq Sudhir’s throw-in for Iqbal Hussain, who volleyed high and wide from eight-yards out.

Hougang came close again eight minutes later after Geylang failed to clear Fumiya Kogure’s free-kick and the ball fell to Afiq Noor, who lashed a shot wide as Hairul closed down on him.

The Eagles had a glorious chance to take the lead against the run of play on 27 minutes when Hartmann drifted into the 18-yard box from the right flank and fired a fierce drive at goal which was parried away by Cheetahs custodian Ridhuan Bahrudin.

The loose ball fell to Roberto Camarasa, who tried lobbing the ball with his back towards goal, but the Spaniard saw his effort sailed wide of the mark.

Geylang then took the lead with their next foray into the Cheetahs’ half on 33 minutes when Anders Aplin’s cross found Hartmann, who brought the ball down with his chest before sending a looping volley over a stranded Ridhuan and into the back of the net.

Shawal added a second for the visitors three minutes later when he went on a mazy run after being setup by Hartmann, leaving Delwinder Singh and Raihan Rahman for dead before coolly firing past Ridhuan as Nur Na’iim Ishak came lunging in with a last-ditch tackle.

The Cheetahs were able to reduce the arrears on the stroke of half-time though, when Kogure made a horizontal run along the edge of the area before passing to an unmarked Kaplan inside the box, who curled the ball beyond the reach of Hairul and into the top corner of the net.

Goalscoring opportunities remained at a premium for the two sides during a scrappy start to the second-half and it wasn’t until the hour mark that both sides registered their first shot on target in the second period.

Camarasa muscled his way through two defenders before playing Shawal through on goal, but the latter fired high and wide with only Ridhuan to beat, before Hairul pulled off a brilliant save with his legs at the other end to block Kogure’s close-range effort.

The Cheetahs continued to probe and had two presentable opportunities to draw level, but Iqbal headed over Khairulnizam Jumahat’s cross from six-yards out on 76 minutes, before Fairoz Hasan volleyed high and wide from eight-yards out a minute later.

Kaplan then seemed certain to score on 81 minutes after being played through on goal by Iqbal, only for his low shot to cannon clear off Hairul’s legs as the goalkeeper came charging off his line.

There was a chance for Geylang to kill off the match as the game approached its final minutes, but substitute Fahrish Khan volleyed over after Hartmann and another substitute Shahfiq Ghani combined to set up the Prime League player.

That miss proved inconsequential as Hougang were reduced to 10 men deep in stoppage time after Delwinder received his second yellow of the game for verbally abusing the match officials and the final whistle arrived seconds later.

Hougang United coach K.Balagumaran: “We created a lot of chances, we played according to game plan, but the two goals we gave away was because of a lapse of concentration.

“We played like it was still 0-0 in the second-half and the boys gave their everything, so I cannot ask for anything more.”

Geylang International coach Hasrin Jailani: “Today we had the luck and they (Hougang) worked very hard to create four or five chances, but we defended well.

“My players worked very hard, especially in defence and for the players who are carrying injuries, for them to do so well, it was all hard work.”

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Delwinder Singh, Faliq Sudhir (Fairoz Hasan 74′), Wahyudi Wahid (Yusiskandar Yusop 42′), Khairulnizam Jumahat, Afiq Noor, Raihan Rahman, Nur Na’iim Ishak (Stipe Plazibat 55′), Fumiya Kogure, Iqbal Hussain, Jozef Kaplan (C)

Geylang International: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Nor Azli Yusoff, Isa Halim (C), Roberto Camarasa (Fahrish Khan 82′), Umar Akhbar (Taufiq Ghani 45′), Shawal Anuar, Stanely Ng (Shahfiq Ghani 90′), Mark Hartmann