Singapore Premier League • May 17, 2014
Warriors Remain Within Touching Distance Of League Leaders
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Warriors FC reduced the gap with Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Brunei DPMM to seven points after a hard fought 1-0 win over Geylang International at Bedok Stadium on Friday evening.
Striker Nicholas Velez earned coach Alex Weaver the valuable three points with a well taken goal in the first half.
With Jeremy Chiang still nursing an injury, Warriors coach Alex Weaver had to deploy Irwan Shah at right-back and slotted Shi Jiayi to the left side of midfield.
While there was surprises to both teams starting line-up, the visitors had to make an early change after Thomas Beattie came off worse after a clash of head with Leonel Felice. Beattie was subsequently replaced by midfielder Dharham Aziz in the 13th minute.
The match started on a slow tempo for both sides as they cautiously held their strategy tight to their chest. Long range shots were the norm in the opening stages with Warriors having a go from distance on several occasions.
The Eagles had a few opportunities on goal midway through the first half.
Kento Fukuda nodded the ball into the bottom corner off an Aliff Shafaein freekick but the defender had been flagged offiside in the 28th minute.
Minutes later Felice tried his luck from inside the danger zone but his attempt failed to pose any danger to Warriors goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.
Geylang who had minutes earlier enjoyed the bulk of possession soon saw the tide shifted and were caught out by surprise by their opponents.
With a flick of a switch, a long ball deep from Warriors’ half released Velez in the final third.
The speedy Argentine dazzled past his markers and unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew past the hapless Joey Sim to give Alex Weaver’s side the lead six minutes before the break.
The interval gave Geylang a breather and they came out stronger compared to how they ended the first-half.
Nine minutes into the second-half, Aliff sneaked past the Warriors’ defence to latch onto Franco Chivilo’s threaded ball. But Hassan was always ready for duty as he palmed Aliff’s effort from the edge of the box.
Seven minutes after the hour mark, the Singapore custodian made yet another brilliant save as he fisted Eagles’ captain M.Ridhuan stinging shot inside the dangerous area.
Ridhuan had a glorious opportunity to snatch a point in the closing stages but unfortunately for the Eagles, they were denied the equaliser by the upright.
With the result, Warriors maintained their second position in the table on 24 points, three points ahead of Tampines Rovers who have a game in hand, while Geylang remained in eighth spot on 13 points.