Singapore Premier League • June 10, 2014

Young Lions Earn Precious Point Against Eagles


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

The 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League campaign saw its first goalless fixture as both Courts Young Lions and Geylang International drew blank on Monday evening at Jalan Besar Stadium.

The scoreline however was not proportional to the intensity of the game, as both sides put up a show of end-to-end football.

The first chance of the game fell to the left foot of Aliff Shafaein, as the nippy forward saw his shot from just outside the penalty box parried by Rudy Khairullah.

Minutes later, Jordan Webb made a marauding run down the left channel before unleashing a shot straight into the hands of Geylang goalkeeper Siddiq Durimi.

The hosts were constantly spraying passes all over the pitch but seemed hesitant in pulling the trigger whenever possible. Even when going on the break, that proved true more often than not as the likes of Sahil Suhaimi and Jordan Webb were forced to play the ball back.

The hosts’ task was made even more difficult by the effective partnership of defensive midfielders Joaquin Lopez and Fabian Kwok, as they were quick to close down their opponents whenever the ball went near the danger area.

The Eagles too had their moments, as Leonel Felice saw his low drive pushed away to safety by Rudy at his near post in the 34th minute.

With five minutes to go before the end of the first half, Aliff’s curling free-kick missed the post by a whisker before Webb had his effort saved by the legs of Siddiq after being set-up by Sherif El-Masri.

The restart began in the Eagles’ favour, as they dominated ball possession and pressed forward. They were so attack-oriented that even centre-backs Yuki Ichikawa and Kento Fukuda were seen foraying up at the other end of the pitch at times.

This almost paid off on the hour mark as Fukuda rose the highest to meet Khairulnizam Jumahat’s cross, only to see it saved by the Young Lions’ custodian.

However, the momentum swung to the hosts’ favour as their opponents began to tire out within the last ten minutes.

Sahil found himself with three glorious opportunities to clinch the winner then, but he failed to put away any of them.

The first chance came when substitute Shameer Aziq sprinted almost half the length of the pitch before playing a low cross in for the unmarked Sahil to audaciously backheel in towards goal, but the effort was beautifully saved by Siddiq.

Immediately after that, Amy Recha floated in a cross from the left and it was Sahil once again who failed to score as his header flew just wide.

Just before the end, the sensational young striker tried to lob the ball over Siddiq who was off his line, but he could only find the roof of the net.

There was still time for the Eagles to sneak in a late goal but Mustaqim Manzur’s 30-yard free-kick sailed just above the crossbar before substitute Hafiz Nor agonisingly scooped his effort over despite being five yards out.