Eagles Ready To Soar Again
Geylang International vs Albirex Niigata (S)
(Thursday, 11 May, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Geylang International will be eager to bounce back in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League when they take on defending champions Albirex Niigata (S) at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
The Eagles fell to their first defeat in three games the last time out in a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Home United. To compound matters, both Anders Aplin and Stanely Ng were dismissed in that game and will play no part against Albirex.
However, Geylang captain Isa Halim is bullish about his team’s chances against the high-flying White Swans.
“We go into every game wanting to win it,” said Isa.
“There’s no point playing if we don’t have that mentality. We have to believe in ourselves and I think we have what it takes to beat them.”
According to Isa, a positive result here for fifth-placed Geylang could prove to be a turning point for the eastern giants this season.
“Every game is a new challenge and it will be tough, no doubt about it,” he said.
“But if we can get a good result against them, it might change the course of our season so we have to believe in ourselves.”
Without the services of suspended duo of Aplin and Ng, Isa hinted that Geylang might have to dig deep but is optimistic they can pull through this.
“It was already tough even before the suspensions,” he lamented. “We only have about 15 S.League players available, with a few others on the long-term injury list.
“We have just to rely on our fighting spirit and continue working hard as a team. There’s no two ways about it.”
With just three wins to their name this season, Isa has urged his teammates to be more consistent as they hope for improved fortunes.
“Just like last year, we need to be consistent - both as a team and individually,” noted the 31-year-old.
“Sometimes we play well but sometimes we don’t, just like how we lost 4-0 to Tampines. We still have another two rounds to correct our mistakes and hopefully we will make the most out of it and climb up the table.”
Albirex on the other hand, are unbeaten in seven games and sit pretty at the top of the standings.
Forward Tsubasa Sano has been in red-hot form this season, plundering eight goals and is one man the Geylang defence have to keep a close eye on while centre-back Yasutaka Yanagi can be called upon to keep things tight at the back.
Defender Tomoki Menda will however sit this one out as he serves the first of his two-match suspension after he was sent off against Warriors FC in their last game.
Suspensions: Anders Aplin, Stanely Ng (Geylang International); Tomoki Menda (Albirex Niigata (S))
Geylang International - DLWWL
28/04/17 Home United 3-0 Geylang International
20/04/17 Geylang International 2-0 Brunei DPMM
15/04/17 Garena Young Lions 0-2 Geylang International
08/04/17 Geylang International 0-4 Tampines Rovers
10/03/17 Warriors FC 1-1 Geylang International
Albirex Niigata (S) - WWWDW
29/04/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 Warriors FC
21/04/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
14/04/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Hougang United
01/04/17 Home United 2-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
09/03/17 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Brunei DPMM
Head to Head (S.League)
22/09/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Geylang International
20/05/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International
10/03/16 Geylang International 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S)
26/10/15 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0 Geylang International
02/08/15 Geylang International 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S)