Balestier Khalsa 1 (Kim Min Ho 25”)
Geylang United 3 (Jozef Kaplan 17”, Nurhazwan Noraskin 41’, Michael King 65”)
Geylang United have progressed to the knockout stages of the Starhub League Cup after beating Balestier Khalsa away at the Toa Payoh Stadium with a 3-1 win despite having only played one game in the group stage.
The game started in a scrappy manner with no real chances in the opening minutes despite Geylang having more of the ball. It was only until the 17th minute when Jozef Kaplan had the first real chance of the game which he duly converted. A perfectly weighted through ball from Shah Hirul was threaded to him and the Slovak needed no invitation to slot it past Zakariah Nerani.
Jozef Kaplan was in the spotlight shortly again but for the wrong reason this time heading wide from six yards out after Michael King sent in a delightful cross from the left.
Balestier finally gave a reply to Kaplan’s goal in the 25th minute when Prime League South Korean Striker Kim Min Ho equalized for the Tigers after latching on to a through ball from Zulkiffli Hassim.
The Eagles did not sit on their laurels and sought to take back the lead almost immediately when Michael King’s shot was deflected and fell to Jozef Kaplan who put his shot way over.
They finally retook the lead in the 41st minute when another Michael King cross fell to Jozef Kaplan who laid the ball off for Nurhazwan Noraskin who maintained his calm to put his shot into the Balestier goal giving Geylang a much deserved lead into the break.
The second half started again with the Eagles in control as Balestier struggled to impose their presence on the game. Play was largely concentrated in the Balestier half as Geylang continued to pile on the pressure and try to extend their lead with the Tigers only having the occasional foray forward.
The Eagle’s hard work paid off in the 65th minute when Michael King’s volley from inside the box made it 3-1 sealing victory and progress for the Eastern side in the Starhub League Cup.
Speaking to the media after the game, Balestier’s Aussie coach Darren Stewart stated that he was disappointed with the game and felt that his team was tired after the recent game against Albirex:
“The boys look tired and we really gave everything against Albirex. We are a fit team and today we just look not fit, it’s not us. Looking back, I probably made the wrong subs and should have let the fresher legs play today.”
He also felt that Geylang had a good game while his team was lacking a bit of confidence probably down to the fatigue they were suffering.
Geylang coach K. Vedhamuthu was evidently delighted with the result, beaming from cheek to cheek when he walked out to meet the press.
“It was a team effort and I cannot ask anymore from the boys. I wasn’t expecting 3-1 and I was expecting a draw. The last time we played them we also scored three goals! That was the last time we scored three goals in a game. “
He also added that his boys will be going all out to avoid defeat against Albirex so as to prevent them from meeting current Group D leaders Tampines Rovers. Geylang United currently top the group despite having the same goal difference as Albirex Niigata due to them having scored a goal more than the Japanese side.
Geylang will next host Albirex Niigata Singapore at the Bedok Stadium on the 2nd of August 2012 while Balestier Khalsa will enter the newly formed plate competition on the 6th of August against either Woodlands Wellington or Gombak United.
Yellow Cards: Syed Thaha 29”, Shafuan Sutohmoh 68”, Paul Cunningham 90” (Balestier Khalsa). Fabian Kwok 4”, Amy Recha 90”(Geylang United).
Balestier: Zakariah Nerani, Jaslee Hatta, Paul Cunningham (C), Hamqamaal Shah (Ruhaizad Ismail 55”), Yusiskandar Yusop (Poh Yi Feng 28’), Tengku Mushadad (Shafuan Sutohmoh 59”) , Syed Thaha, Park Kang Jin, Kim Minho, Zdravko Dragiecevic. Unused subs: Joey Sim, Patrick Paran, Andrew Tan, Ho Wai Loon.
Geylang: Ridhuan Bahrudin, Syed Fadhil ( C), Shahril Alias, Shah Hirul, Ang Zhiwei (Ishak Zianol 72”), Stefan Milojevic, Jalal, Michael King (H. Panuwat 86”), Jozef Kaplan, Nurhazwan Noraskin (Amy Recha 74”), Fabian Kwok. Unused subs: Yazid Yazin, Faizal Samad, Danial Razali, Hassan Aziz