Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Woodlands Wellington FC 0-1 Geylang United FC
90+3” Kim Jae Hong
Date: 20 October 2009
Location: Woodlands Stadium


The Geylang Eagles made it a clean sweep against Woodlands Wellington in 2009 as they stole victory courtesy of the last kick of the game at the Rams’ cauldron up north with Korean Kim Jae Hong notching his third goal in four games.

It was also the Eagles’ third consecutive 1-0 away win in all competitions, having previously beaten Balestier and Albirex at Toa Payoh and Jurong East respectively.

Coach Mike Wong expressed post-match his disappointment with his side’s first half display as he felt his charges had sat too deep, allowing a Woodlands side, who were out for revenge after two losses against the Eagles this season, to dictate the early exchanges.

Wong felt that perhaps the two previous losses in the league had played on his charges’ mind as they exercised due caution in the opening period.

His half time pep talk probably worked wonders as the Eagles showed more enterprise in the second half and was rewarded right at the death.

The game was also the Rams’ last home game of the season and the home fans were determined to put on a good show off the pitch as well and this created a good atmosphere around the stadium.

Chances at a premium in the first period

In terms of the Geylang’s starting line-up, Shah Hirul, Faizal Senin and Hafiz Rahim were once again given the nod to start in the absence of the likes of Masrezwan Masturi, away on national duty after earning a well-deserved recall, and Miroslav Latiak, who was wrapped in wool as the Eagles’ No 9 had felt a minor twitch in his right hamstring during the build-up to this game.

Hafiz, in particular, was eager to impress the coach as he worked tirelessly along the forward line for a large part of the game.

Despite the Rams’ significant possession in the opening exchanges, it was at the other end of the pitch where the first piece of goalmouth action was conjured up.

A one-two between Hafiz and captain Noor Ali in the 18th minute set the former down the left touchline, where he whipped in a cross that narrowly just missed the head of the on-rushing Shah Hirul.

Two minutes later, the Geylang defence got sucked in to the ball, allowing the Rams’ forward Mojtaba Tehranizadeh to strike a fearsome shot which Yazid Yasin punched clear.

Geylang’s Tunisian-born defender Walid Lounis then got into the act in the next two pieces of action at either end. First, he almost profited from a deep free-kick swung in by Rastislav Belicak after the Rams’ keeper mistake misjudged the flight of the ball.

Then, immediately at the next possession, Walid put in a timely challenge to thwart the opposition a clear attempt at goal.

An alert Yazid then kept out Mojtaba again in the 32 minute as the Iranian took advantage of Belicak’s fluffed clearance and almost poked the ball home.

Enterprising second half

The stage was set right from start of the second half as Jonathan Xu headed a free-kick just over within the first minute of the restart.

In the 51st minute, Kim sizzled past a Woodlands defender and accelerated into the penalty box, where he tested the Rams’ keeper Ahmadulhaq Che Omar with a low shot which the custodian managed to divert out for a corner.

8 minutes later, Kim had a decent penalty appeal turned down by the referee after he was brought down by Daniel Hammond following a swift Eagles‘ counter which saw six quick passes strung together.

Mike Wong then brought on Ashrin Shariff in the 62 minute for his first appearance in months after recovering from an injury to add more bite to the attack.

Faizal Senin next produced a left-foot bullet from 30 metres out which again stung the palms of Ahmadulhaq in the 70th minute.

Three minutes later, a deft chip by Ashrin set up Kim, who sidestepped the keeper and laid the ball to Hafiz, who blasted unforgivingly high with the goal at his mercy.

National U-21 midfielder Ang Zhi Wei was then introduced in the 84th minute to add more pace down the Eagles’ right flank.

Geylang then produced a couple of more chances in the last few minutes of normal time, the best falling to Noor Ali who hesitated when set free down the left and the chance was gone.

At that time, the match had looked destined to end goalless. However, it was not to be.

Up stepped Kim deep in injury time as he volleyed home from close range after Ahmadulhaq had spilled a Noor Ali corner. The Eagles’ fans roared as Kim went about his usual goal celebration by falling on his knees with his hands cupped together.

With that, the Eagles are now on 39 points in the revised league standings with two games remaining. They next take on the resurgent Young Lions in their final home game on 28th October at the Bedok Stadium.

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