Hougang United managed their second win of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) season when they beat Geylang International 3-0 at the Bedok Stadium on Sunday.
Japan-bound Anders Aplin failed to get his winning farewell in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) at Bedok Stadium on Sunday evening after ten-man Geylang International fell 3-0 to Hougang United.
Justin Hui, Fareez Farhan and Chang Jo Yoon all hit the back of the net, as Hougang broke a five-game losing streak
Fresh from scoring his first-ever career goal, Geylang captain Anders had rallied his troops to maintain their focus and secure a good result before he left for a loan stint with Japanese outfit Matsumoto Yamaga.
However, a series of bad luck and ill-discipline ultimately cost the Eagles. Geylang were forced to use all their substitutions before the second half, as Fumiya Kogure, Ryson Yap and their goalkeeper Zainol Gulam picked up knocks.
Zainol’s replacement Basil Chan did not help matters with his sending off minutes after the restart, forcing defender Jufri Taha to stand in goal for the entire second half.
It was end-to-end stuff in the first half, with the first piece of action coming in the second minute.
Antoine Viterale teed up Muhaimin Suhaimin from distance but the latter’s rasping drive was parried by Zainol Gulam.
On the eighth minute mark, Geylang should have gone in front after Ryan Syaffiq played Fairoz Hassan through. The striker rounded Zulfairuuz Rudy and went for goal but Illyas Lee denied him with a goal-line clearance.
Two minutes later, Lee launched a long ball to Iqbal Hussain, who took the ball down with aplomb. He had options on his sides but chose to go with a half volley which Zainol did well to turn away.
Viterale was next to miss a gilt-edged chance but the Hougang forward however made amends in the 35th minute, lobbing a superb ball towards Justin Hui and the midfielder broke the offside trap before slotting in the opener.
There was still time for Geylang to come from behind even though their first choice custodian Zainol suffered a neck injury and had to make way for Chan during the interval.
However, that plan went awry just minutes into the second half, as Geylang went a man down when Chan was given his marching orders for retaliating to a challenge by Ashrul Syafeeq and landing a punch on Lee, who had tried to act as peacemaker.
Still, the Eagles served a warning of their ability to compete on the hour mark, with Fairoz heading just wide off Darren Teh’s cross.
It was a call the Cheetahs heeded, as Fareez duly doubled his side’s lead with a great goal. Picking up Viterale’s pass, the tricky forward danced his way past three defenders and found the bottom left corner of goal to make it 2-0.
Hougang continued to torment Geylang but profligacy meant they were unable to pull further ahead, until the 83rd minute.
A minute after Jufri had just tipped Chang’s shot onto the post, the South Korean ensured he scored his first goal for Hougang by heading in Iqbal’s cross at the far post.
Hougang will take a seven-day break before taking on Tampines Rovers at Our Tampines Hub while Geylang will have 10 days to recharge their batteries before facing Home United at Bedok Stadium.
Geylang International FC Head Coach Usui Hirotaka: “Actually this is a first experience for me, having to make all my substitutions in the first half. It was also the first time I seen Jufri wear the goalkeeper jersey and play in goal!
“The first injury came after 15 minutes, then ryson after 30 minutes, so this was two very difficult situation for me. Then at half-time, Zainol said his neck was injured so it was dangerous for him and I had to use my last sub.
“But you know, before 2-0, our attacking was good. So it is disappointing we could not do more when we were able to make chances. We were given a difficult situation today and we must accept it as professionals.
“Hougang wanted to win and get the three points so congratulations to them. We still have one more game against them so we will try to win them in that game.
Hougang United FC Caretaker Head Coach Clement Teo: “This is the highest level of football in Singapore, if you are a man down, we have to take advantage and we did that.”
“I am happy for the players, look, they worked hard and they have been doing what we have practicing since the past month or so. They are now getting the rewards for their hard work.
“Naturally, it’s never the end until you blow the final whistle. We still have got six more games and 18 points to fight for. We will need this winning mentality (in order to climb the table).
“It’s pure happiness to finally catch our break. It feels good, the players are on top of the world now. But it’s back to the work again, we have games against Tampines and Balestier and Brunei, so the boys know we have to work harder.
Geylang International FC: Zainol Gulam (GK) (Basil Chan 46’), Anders Aplin (C), Jufri Taha, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Darren Teh, Ryan Syaffiq, Fumiya Kogure (Fuad Ramli 19’) Danish Irfan, Ryson Yap (Azhar Sairudin 38’), Yuki Ichikawa, Fairoz Hasan
Hougang United FC: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Ashrul Syafeeq, Syahiran Miswan ( Syaqir Sulaiman 74′), Fareez Farhan, Antoine Viterale, Illyas Lee, Iqbal Hussain, Justin Hui (Nurhilmi Jasni 90′), Faiz Salleh (C), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Fazrul Nawaz (Chang Jo Yoon 46’)