Geylang United 0
Harimau Muda 2 (Wan Zack Haikal 43’, D Saarvindran 84’)
Photo courtesy of FAS
A spirited performance from Geylang United was not sufficient to stop Harimau Muda from collecting three points. Two superb goals from Wan Zack Haikal and D Saarvindran was enough to earn the win, although the game could have gone either way.
Geylang set out with the same team that managed to shut out Albirex Niigata(S) and it looked as though they might shut out the free scoring Harimau Muda too.
However, an injury to leftback Salim Rahim, who was outstanding against the White Swans, threw plans into disarray. His replacement, Mubarak Ahamad, looked unable to deal with Harimau Muda’s nippy winger Wan Zack Haikal on a number of occasions and it was no surprise that the Young Tiger’s first chance of note came from his flank.
A superb pass from the promising winger set Thamil Arasu through on goal in the thirteenth minute, but the striker first time shot went wide.
Three minutes later, Wan Zahrulnizam, swapping flanks with Wan Zack, cut inwards to unleash a fierce attempt that looked to be curling into the top corner. Veteran goalkeeper Yazid Yasin though, managed to palm it out for a corner.
Harimau Muda had two great chances in three minutes soon after, but both Ahmad Hazwan and Wan Zack Haikal failed to capitalize on it. For all of their dominance, Geylang United started to come into the game, stringing a number of passes together but just could not find a way past the away side’s backline.
They almost took the lead on the thirty eighth minute after Harimau Muda goalkeeper Farhan Abu Bakar’s clearance from way off his line went to Geylang’s Ang Zhi Wei. The winger’s attempt from just over the halfway line went way wide however, with no danger of finding the empty net.
That would prove costly, as two minutes before halftime, Wan Zack Haikal broke the deadlock with a goal of the highest class.
Cutting in from the right, Wan Zack rode past one challenge before curling the ball into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Yazid Yasin’s outstretch arms. The goal came just as both teams looked to end the first period with no goals to show for, especially for Harimau Muda as they just seemed unable to score.
Geylang came out of the half looking to draw level and they were almost able to, fourteen minutes after the restart.
Left winger Michael King went on a mazy run down the right, going past 2 simultaneous challenges before unleashing a shot. The ball managed to beat Harimau Muda custodian Farhan, but failed to beat the post.
Minutes later, King had yet another great attempt, this time from a freekick. Farhan Abu Bakar however, proved equal to King’s curling effort.
Despite having the better of chances, it was Harimau Muda who was dominating play still. Left exposed time and time again, Yazid Yasin was called upon to make countless of saves. The profligacy in front of goal the Young Tigers almost proved to be costly.
Substitute Amy Recha ran down the left wing before cutting the ball back in the seventy eighth minute. Malaysian leftback Nazirul Naim however, miscued his clearance. The ball found its way towards King who was unmarked in the box, but his shot was saved brilliantly by Farhan with his feet.
That was the turning point, as Harimau Muda doubled their lead and put the game to bed. Taking the ball in his stride and with no defenders in white anywhere near him, D Saarvindran managed to get away a shot. The ball creeped past Yazid into the bottom corner, as the Geylang goalkeeper took a tad too long to dive down.
However, all was not over yet as the Malaysian under 23 side continued to pressure the Geylang in search of a third goal. It proved to be elusive fortunately for the Eagles, who have to thank Yazid Yasin who made a couple of good saves in the ending minutes of the game.
Yazid Yasin, despite having conceded the most goal so far in the S.League this season, has been widely acknowledge as one of the best goalkeeper this season. It showed exactly why in the match as he kept Geylang in the game for as long as eighty three minutes and kept the score low.
Yet again, he was offered no protection from his backline. Harimau Muda’s attackers were able to penetrate too easily and on other days, they would have wrapped up the game by first half easily.
This fact was acknowledged by Geylang United’s head coach Vedhamuthu Kanan.
“Yazid (Yasin) is a very good and experienced keeper,” he said. “I always tell the players we must not let Yazid be the man of the match all the time.”
“We must do our defending right from the midfield to of course the defenders.”
However he conceded that Harimau Muda were just a class above, although he is not pleased to lose in such a manner.
“Compared to Harimau Muda man to man, they have better players.”
“I’m not pleased, I thought we played well and they scored two goals from long range. I thought we defended well and even created enough chances to win.”
Not the best
Harimau Muda head coach Ong Kim Swee felt that the team did not show their best showing despite the win.
“I expected Geylang United to play behind the ball all the time and once we scored our first goal, it opens up the game. They almost equalized and that is where we need to learn.”
“Overall our performance is not where we used to be.”
He felt his rookie goalkeeper Farhan Abu Bakar, who started ahead of regular first choice Izham Tarmizi, did well.
He said, “It is his first game and he’s only nineteen years old. Earlier he shown a little bit of nerves, but as the game went on, he saved a number of shots and I believe in more matches to come, he will be much better.
Geylang United will next face Singapore Armed Forces away at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on 10th May, while Harimau Muda will face defending champions at the Yishun Stadium on 13th May.
Geylang United: Yazid Yasin(GK,C), Salim Rahim (Mubarak Ahamad 13’), Ishak Zainol, Shahril Alias, Rizawan Abdullah (Amy Rech Pristifana 64’), Rhema Obed, Michael King, Syed Fadhil, Mun Seung Man (Zul Elhan Fahmi 72’), Ang Zhi Wei, Jozef Kaplan. Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin, Jalal, Hassan Aziz, Fazial Samad.
Harimau Muda: Farhan Abu Bakar(GK), Mahalli Jasuli(C) (Shahrul Saad 63’), Fadhli Shas, Wan Zaharulnizam (Syahrul Azwari 63’), Thamil Arasu, Nazirul Naim, Wan Zack Haikal, Affize Faisal, Syazwan Tajudin, Ahmad Hazwan, Azzizan Nordin (D Saarvindran 72’). Unused subs: Nazmi Faiz, Ferris Danial, Izham Tarmizi, Syaid Zaidon.
Yellow cards: Ang Zhi Wei (Geylang United) Wan Zack Haikal, Mahalli Jasuli (Harimau Muda)