Quak Stars As Eagles Soar
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Gabriel Quak scored a goal and made another as Geylang International beat Balestier Khalsa 2-0 in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
The result moved the Eagles to within two points of fourth-placed Warriors FC whom they next face in the league next Friday.
The Eagles went on the offensive from the get-go and had the first chance of note on nine minutes but Quak’s speculative effort went straight at Balestier custodian Zaiful Nizam.
Shawal Anuar came even closer two minutes later, but his dipping shot was tipped over for a corner by Zaiful at full-stretch.
Balestier were not to be outdone either, with Aung Kyaw Naing and Jonathan Tan looking dangerous on the break but were unable to find a way past a stout Geylang backline led by Yuki Ichikawa and Anders Aplin.
However, the designated home side continued to look the dangerous of the two with Victor Coto having opportunities to open the scoring but was denied by Zaiful on two occasions.
Geylang were duly rewarded with the lead on 27 minutes with Quak curling an accurate finish into the bottom corner after he was teed up by Coto on the edge of the box.
Ricardo Sendra could have made it two in favour of Geylang in the 36th minute but his shot flew over before Kyaw Naing fired well over shortly before half time.
It did not take long for Noor Ali’s side to extend their lead however, as an unmarked Shawal volleyed home at the far post off Quak’s right-wing cross three minutes after the restart.
Geylang continued to threaten thereafter and Sendra was presented with another goalscoring opportunity in the 51st minute but saw his effort pushed away by Zaiful.
With a two-goal deficit, Balestier tried to muster a response and nearly got one on 64 minutes but Tan could only fire tamely at Syazwan Buhari who was hardly tested throughout.
Clear chances however were at a premium thereafter as Geylang hung on for their second win on the trot in the S.League.
With the victory, the Eagles now have 27 points in 17 games while Balestier remain seventh with ten points from 18 matches.
Geylang International Head Coach Noor Ali: “It was a brilliant performance from the boys. I’m happy with the two goals we scored but the most important thing was the three points moving forward to the Warriors game.
“We have played Balestier twice this season and we knew exactly how they would play. They defended well and made things difficult for us.
“Gabriel played well today, taking his goal well and even getting an assist in the second half. It was a good game from him and hopefully he gets a call-up back to the national team where he can be an asset to the team.”
Balestier Khalsa Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “I thought we did relatively well today but they (Geylang) had the players to finish off the chances and we didn’t - that was the difference today.
“We are missing the players who can put the ball in the net and provide the key passes to the attacking players.
“It’s tough to catch up with (sixth-placed) Hougang in the table after today’s loss but if we can finish above Brunei DPMM and Young Lions it will be good. There’s still six games to go and you never know what will happen but we shall see.”
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Anders Aplin, Yuki Ichikawa, Darren Teh, Shawal Anuar, Nor Azli Yusoff (C) (Isa Halim 75’), Ricardo Sendra, Gabriel Quak (Asshukrie Wahid 81’), Victor Coto (Amy Recha 70’), Shahfiq Ghani Balestier Khalsa:
Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Tajeli Selamat, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Raihan Rahman, Ahmad Syahir, Aung Kyaw Naing (Hanafi Akbar 52’), Huzaifah Aziz, Kyaw Zayar Win (Shah Hirul 70’), Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit (Khairuddin Omar 52’), Hazzuwan Halim, Jonathan Tan