Geylang United 2 (Stefan Milojevic, Shah Hirul)
Albirex Niigata(S) 0 (Yasuhiro Yamakoshi 48’ 80’)
In a match dominated by Albirex Niigata Singapore at the Bedok Stadium, Geylang United upset the odds and put in a stunning performance to churn out an amazing result to see them top Group B of the Starhub League Cup.
The game started as a drab affair while Albirex Niigata dominated the possession in their usual manner, stroking the ball around poking the Geylang defence for weaknesses. Despite having most of the ball, the Swans failed to capitalize on the advantage and did not exert enough pressure on Geylang United to concede. Instead, it was the East Siders who opened the scoring with a Stefan Milojevic effort in the 43rd minute.
Good work from Jozef Kaplan saw the Slovakian midfielder find himself at the Alibrex byline and instead of attempting a shot despite his proximity to Takuma Ito’s goal, the Slovak cut the ball back for an unmarked Stefan Milojevic to score from the penalty spot. It was also the first time Ito has conceded in five games and possibly threw Albirex Coach Koichi Sugiyama’s half time talk into disarray as the half time whistle blew not long after.
The second half started with the Japanese being more adventurous on the attack as Geylang custodian Ridhuan Bahrudin was forced to make several saves with the most notable one from point blank range after a shot from Sho Kamimura in the 49th minute.
However, Geylang were not resting on the laurels despite the attempts of the Japanese to increase the pressure on them as they extended their lead in the 59th minute.
Prime League boy Fabian Kwok made a surging run into the box to thread a ball for English midfielder Michael King but the former Burnley trainee did not attempt the shot and dummied the ball for Shah Hirul to score the second goal for his club shocking the Japanese side further.
Albirex Niigata attempted a fight back after Geylang’s second goal and an effort by substitute Yasuhiro Yamakoshi who flicked on a header that beat Ridhuan but not his post was the best effort the team had throughout the remainder of the game thus leaving the Japanese in second spot in Group B of the Starhub League Cup. It was also the first time Geylang United has secured back to back victory in all competitions this season.
Speaking to the media right after the game Geylang Coach Kanan Vedhamuthu could not hide his delight as he gave the media a run-down on his thought on the game.
“I didn’t expect us to counter-attack and score two goals despite the boys playing to plan. We know the strength of Albirex and they dominated the game but we defended very well as a team as a unit just like how we did against Balestier.”
When asked about the effect of taking the lead despite not having most of the ball in the first half, Coach Kanan said: “The confidence level of the boys were boosted when the first goal came and I told them to hold the ball longer. We can play and we must believe in ourselves that we also can play. So the second half was much better and they started to hold the ball longer and on the back we got the second goal. “
Not too disappointed
Albirex Niigata coach Koichi Sugiyama was not too disappointed despite the defeat as his team has already progressed to the knock out stages of the competition.
“Geylang is a very good team and they have improved. However we are not out of the competition and we will be preparing for our next match against Tampines. Not scoring goals in this game is not a problem as I think we played a good game. However the team is suffering from some fatigue while the hard pitch today is not really to our advantage.”
He also added that missing key player Musashi Okuyama has a bit of a niggling injury and will benefit from the rest as the club gets ready to take on an increasingly congested fixtures list.
Albirex Niigata Singapore will next face Tampines Rovers at the Clementi Stadium while Geylang United will be hosting western side Gombak United at the Bedok Stadium. Both matches will be held on the 5th of August 2012 with kickoff at 830PM.
Yellow cards: Stefan Milojevic 83” (Geylang United)
Geylang United: Ridhuan Bahrudin (C), Syed Fadhil, Shahril Alias, Ishak Zainol, Shah Hirul, Ang Zhiwei, Nurhazwan Noraskin, Michael King (Amy Recha Pristifana 80”), Stefan Milojevic (Hassan Aziz 90’), Jozef Kaplan, Fabian Kwok (Rizawan Abdullah 74’). Unused subs: Yazid Yazin, Faizal Samad,H. Panuwat, Basil Gerard Teo.
Albirex Niigata(S): Takuma Ito(GK), Norihiro Kawakami(C), Yuki Ichikawa (Takeshi Ito 68”), Keisuke Matsui, Kunihiro Yamashita, Atsushi Shimono (Keita Kobayashi 74’), Sho Kamimura, Yuhei Shiratori (Yasuhiro Yamakoshi 62”), Masatake Sato, Hidekazu Yamamoto, Toshikazu Soya. Unused subs:Kohta Tamakawa, Hiroaki Hara, Shuhei Hotta, Masahiko Ando