Eagles Sink Young Lions Despite Zharfan’s Heroics
Written by: Ryan Low
Geylang International recovered from their heavy defeat to Tampines Rovers in their last game with a neat 2-0 win over Garena Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
Second-half goals by Stanely Ng and Shawal Anuar sealed the game for the Eagles, despite some outstanding saves from Garena Young Lions custodian Zharfan Rohaizad.
The Zharfan show started in the 13th minute, as he recovered in time to prevent Victor Coto’s ambitious 50-yard lob from going in.
Two minutes later, the 20-year-old pulled off a stunning reflex save to deny Ricardo Sendra’s goal-bound header from Coto’s cross.
On 25th minute, it was Zharfan at the forefront again as he turned Sendra’s snapshot around the post.
Young Lions grew in confidence towards the end of the first half and almost scored on two occasions.
First, wide-man Muhaimin Suhaimi lashed over the bar after collecting Hami’s slide-rule pass.
Then, Jordan Chan broke free via a neat drag-back but his pass was a tad too heavy for Muhelmy Suhaimi to convert in the six-yard box.
The second half resumed, with Zharfan doing his thing again with a good fingertip save to deny Ng after the latter was put through on goal by Shahfiq Ghani.
Young Lions then had a couple of good moments in attack, but were just let down by a lack of final product.
Zharfan was finally beaten on 64th minute, with Ng tapping home from close range after he had parried Sendra’s 20-yard shot into his path.
Young Lions coach V Selvaraj threw on Taufik Suparno for Chan thereafter to chase the game, but the Eagles would double their advantage in the 75th minute.
Substitute Shawal Anuar latched onto teammate Safirul Sulaiman’s pass, got past Zharfan and evaded another defender’s attentions before firing into an empty net.
The home side had a chance to pull one back eight minutes before the end when Hami Syahin’s lofted ball put Taufik through on goal, but the latter was denied by Syazwan in a one-on-one opportunity.
The final whistle soon sounded to signal a sixth loss for Young Lions as they remained ninth, while Geylang went up to fifth with seven points from five matches.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach V Selvaraj: “It was two different halves. We created two good chances in the last five minutes of the first-half and should have buried one of them if we had more composure in front of goal.
“In the second half, we got higher up the pitch, were more confident on the ball and penetrated their defence more. We also made good substitutions which offered more speed, but we were not able to finish the chances off.
“The good thing is that we’re competing now, the boys are believing in themselves more. Now we just have to keep working and do the right things to win the next match.”
Geylang International Head Coach Hasrin Jailani: “At the end of the day, the three points is the most important after a heavy defeat. It’s not easy for the players; you can see from their body language.
“Young Lions are also an improved side; a few players did very well, like Taufik (Suparno) who is someone who can create a lot of problems. They played according to their game plan and defended very well.
“We still have a lot of areas for improvement. The balls played in behind our defence gave us a lot of problems and we need to get back to the basics of defending. That’s our priority, especially with Brunei DPMM (coming up next) who has a good strikeforce.”
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin (C), Syahrul Sazali, Ryan Syaffiq, Hami Syahin, Muhelmy Suhaimi (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 72’), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Ammirul Emmran, Jordan Chan (Taufik Suparno 65’)
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Stanely Ng (Gabriel Quak 87’), Isa Halim (C) (Shawal Anuar 61’), Ricardo Sendra, Shahfiq Ghani (Amy Recha 69’), Safirul Sulaiman, Victor Coto