Eagles Snap Three-Match Winless Streak
Written by: Ryan Low
Argentinean playmaker Ricardo Sendra scored his second goal in as many games as Geylang International edged Balestier Khalsa 1-0 in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
This was the Eagles’ first win in four matches as they leapfrogged Hougang United to go fifth with 14 points from 10 matches.
Hasrin Jailani’s side dominated for large periods of the game, but ended with only one goal to show for.
Amy Recha spurned two chances in the first 10 minutes, before Sendra forced Zaiful Nizam into a save via a shot from outside the area.Victor Coto also had a try from range in the 24th minute, but fired straight at Zaiful.
The designated hosts would find the breakthrough five minutes before half time, with Sendra latching onto a long ball before curling a neat effort beyond Zaiful from just inside the area.
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic introduced Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit after the break and the Myanmarese attacker could have scored the equaliser six minutes after coming on, if not for the intervention of Geylang custodian Syazwan Buhari.
Aung Kyaw Naing and Syahrul Nizam were further threw on to add bite into the Tigers attacking third, but they could not find the breakthrough against a stout Geylang backline led by Yuki Ichikawa.
The Eagles dominated the final half-hour, but were unable to find another goal.
Sendra found himself in acres of space in the 67th and 74th minute respectively, but somehow fired off-target on both occasions.
Substitute Gabriel Quak also had the opportunity to seal the game six minutes before the end, but lashed into the side netting after Sendra had retrieved a lost cause.
Balestier had one last chance deep into injury time with Kyaw Naing putting in a teasing cross into the box, but no one was on hand to convert.
The final whistle soon sounded to signal a fourth straight 1-0 loss for the Tigers and five losses in a row. They have also failed to score a goal in 480 official minutes, with their last goal coming in a 2-1 win over Brunei DPMM in early April.
Balestier Khalsa Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “For the first goal, we lost possession and were too slow in defence to reorganise. That cannot happen, it’s a big mistake and it’s painful to concede just before half time.
“We lost in the challenges, Geylang were more aggressive. Once we lost the ball, we have to win the ball back. But when we got the ball, we got no idea what to do and the final pass was just not good enough. The players did not perform to their full potential.
“It’s good that we have the RHB Singapore Cup game against Nagaworld FC coming up next. Hopefully we can give a good game because we have done well in cup competitions in last few years.”
Geylang International Head Coach Hasrin Jailani: “It’s a good three points after not winning the last few games. I can see the players trying very hard to score, but we were not composed in front of goal and wasted too many chances.
“Defensively the team is okay, it’s just about putting the ball in the back of the net. I’m happy to see Ricardo scoring again; the foreign players should always be doing much better than the locals and that should be the way. Hopefully we can build on from here.”
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Fadli Kamis, Ashrul Syafeeq, Hanafi Salleh, Ahmad Syahir, Hazzuwan Halim, Raihan Rahman, Kyaw Zayar Win, Shah Hirul (Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit 46’), Jonathan Tan (Syahrul Nizam 75’), Tajeli Selamat (Aung Kyaw Naing 67’)
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Yuki Ichikawa, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Safirul Sulaiman, Amy Recha (Anders Aplin 58’), Isa Halim (C), Ricardo Sendra, Stanely Ng (Ashraf Razali 89’), Shahfiq Ghani (Gabriel Quak 79’), Victor Coto