Home 5-0 Geylang: Big win, but Protectors finish second
Photo Courtesy of Ko Po Hui
Scorers: Mazreswan Masturi 18’, 25’, 31’, Qiu Li 36’, Shi Jiayi 73’
Home United ended their season on a high note as they thumped a hapless Geylang side 5-0 in their last home game at Bishan Stadium, with Mazrezwan Masturi grabbing a first-half hat-trick. The game was also probably the last time Isa Halim and Juma’at Jantan will don the red jersey for the Protectors, as they have signed up to play for the Singapore Lions in the M-League next season.
Trailing table-topping Tampines by a solitary point going into this game, the home side had to win to keep their slim hopes of winning the S-League title alive. They nearly made an immediate breakthrough with just one minute on the clock, as Frederic Mendy floated in a cross from the right which the incoming Mazrezwan could only head over.
That set the tone for the rest of the half, as the Protectors dominated possession and were virtually encamped within the visitors’ half, although they did suffer a scare when Kenji Arai had to make a superb last-ditch tackle to prevent Kim Jae Hong from tapping into an empty net.
It was about the only time the Eagles threatened in the first 45 minutes, however, as Home took the lead in the 18th minute through Mazrezwan. Qiu Li, making his return to the starting lineup from a long injury layoff, sent in a low cross which Mendy could only flick on at the near post, and his strike partner made no mistake by tucking it in at the far post against his former club.
Mendy then saw a couple of efforts saved by Geylang goalkeeper Yazid Yasin, before Mazrezwan grabbed a second seven minutes later. Latching on to Shi Jiayi’s through ball, he held off a defender before finishing coolly into the far left bottom corner. The striker then completed his hat-trick on the half-hour, as he easily converted a cutback from Firdaus Idros on the left byline, before Qiu Li lashed home a fierce strike past a rooted Yazid after he pounced on a loose ball in the box five minutes later to make it 4-0 at the break.
Perhaps affected by the fact that Tampines were leading 3-0 at halftime, the Home players seemed to ease off in the second half, and were guilty of spurning several good chances to add to the scoreline. Asraf Rashid shot straight at the ‘keeper, while Mendy and Firdaus Idros also saw their tame efforts repelled easily.
Geylang started to push forward, but their attempts were largely from distance and hardly troubled Lionel Lewis in the Home goal. Yazid then pulled off a superb save to deny Firdaus again when he was sent clear by Qiu Li, before the fifth goal arrived in the 73rd minute. Mendy’s low cross from the left was half-cleared to Qiu Li on the penalty spot, who calmly picked out Shi Jiayi to his right. The skipper made no mistake with a low shot across the ‘keeper.
Amy Recha nearly managed a consolation for Geylang when he cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce drive which crashed against the inside of the post and rebounded out for a goalkick. Home struck the woodwork themselves when Firdaus flicked a header onto the crossbar, and Mendy saw two headers go narrowly wide. Shi Jiayi then blasted over from just outside the area, and the final whistle went shortly after that.
It could have very well been a cricket score, but any scoreline was rendered irrelevant, as Tampines pipped Home to the title by a point after beating Balestier 5-0 themselves. Home will rue the 1-0 loss in the crucial clash with the Stags last week, which proved to be their undoing.
However, it wasn’t a trophyless season for the Bishan club, who broke their six-year silverware drought by winning the RHB Singapore Cup two weeks, and the team will surely be back to challenge strongly next season for a title they last won in 2003.
Home: Lionel Lewis (Fajar Sarib 88’), Rosman Sulaiman, Valery Hiek, Kenji Arai, Firdaus Idros, Isa Halim, Shi Jiayi (C), Qiu Li (Nor Azli Yusoff 81’), Juma’at Jantan, Masrezwan Masturi (Asraf Rashid 48’), Frederic Mendy. (Unused substitutes: Abdil Qaiyyim)
Geylang: Yazid Yasin (C), Syed Fadhil, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Hassan Aziz, Shah Hirul, Syed Thaha, Nurhazwan Norashikin (Hasree Zais 74’), Zul Elhan Fahmi, Rizawan Abdullah (Amy Recha 77’), Hafiz Rahim, Kim Jae Hong. (Unused substitutes: Nazri Sahib, Salim Rahim, Sevki Sha’ban, Mubarak Ahamad)
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