Geylang down Tampines in thriller; Albirex go top

Tampines Rovers’ S.League title bid was dealt a big blow on Friday evening after they were beaten 3-2 by Eastern Derby rivals Geylang International at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

It was the Stags who drew first blood after 12 minutes when Kento Fukuda, in a bid to clear Roberto Alviz’s deflected cross, could only bring the ball down inside his own six-yard box and was dispossessed by Rodrigo Tosi.

The loose ball fell kindly to Firdaus Idros, who made no mistake in slotting into the bottom corner from close range to hand his side the lead.

However, Geylang responded four minutes before the half-hour mark after Tatsuro Inui floated a lovely freekick towards the back post, where Yuki Ichikawa climbed highest and managed to squeeze his header in from a tight angle.

Despite being underdogs for the clash, the Eagles were more than matching their opponents and they went ahead in the 62nd minute when they were awarded a penalty after Jufri Taha had blocked Bruno Castanheira’s bicycle-kick with his hands; Jozef Kaplan stepping up and making no mistake in sending Siddiq Durimi the wrong way from 12 yards.

Tampines did look threatening from set-pieces but Tosi was denied six minutes later when his firm header was cleared off the line by Anaz Hadee, before Yazid Yasin produced a fine save to deny Fahrudin Mustafic from point-blank range, after the ex-Singapore international had nodded the ball towards goal from six yards out.

Nonetheless, with two minutes remaining, it looked like the designated visitors had forced the draw as Tosi’s flick-on header was helped on by Jamil Ali into the path of Noh Alam Shah, who made no mistake in glancing the ball over the line from close range.

But barely a minute later, Geylang went up the other end and Inui did brilliantly to break free down the left and hit the byline before playing a cross into the box, where Bruno proceeded to send a clinical first-time volley on his left foot into the back of the net.

The game then turned ugly in the closing stages when Eagles midfielder Nor Azli Yusoff was shown a straight red for elbowing Alviz, which led to heated scenes by the touchline as both benches threatened to come to blows.

After both sides eventually, referee Jansen Foo issued marching orders to Stags fitness coach Aleksandar Duric, as well as Geylang boss Jorg Steinebrunner, who appeared to have done little apart from try to cool the situation down.

Still, the incident did little to dampen Geylang spirits as they celebrated an impressive victory moments later when the final whistle blew, which happened to be their first triumph of the season.

The result also meant Albirex Niigata (S) moved top of the table following a 1-0 win over Harimau Muda at the Hang Jebat Stadium; Atsushi Kawata netting the only goal of the game when he converted Hikaru Mizuno’s low cross in the 65th minute.

Friday’s S.League Results

Harimau Muda 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S)

Geylang International 3-2 Tampines Rovers


Stange wants Lions to be wary of ‘wounded’ Malaysia

Bernd Stange believes his Singapore side cannot afford complacency in their highly-anticipated 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup clash with bitter rivals Malaysia.

Currently second in Group B after picking up three points from their opening two games, the Lions only need a draw in Saturday’s highly-anticipated clash at the National Stadium to secure their place in the sem-finals, unless Myanmar somehow manage to defeat Thailand by three or more goals in the other game and have a better ‘goals scored’ tally.

But although his side appeared to be in pole position to join the Thais in advancing from the group, Stange is adamant they cannot take anything for granted.

“It’s a big clash tomorrow [Saturday] and I have respect for this Malaysia team,” he said.

“They are a wounded animal after the results in this tournament and that’s why this team is extremely dangerous.

“We have to be prepared.”

The Singaporeans were dealt a real blow in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Laos after Shahdan Sulaiman was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, following a horrific injury that resulted in him fracturing his fibula and dislocating his ankle.

Apart from the classy playmaker, the Lions could also miss right-back Ismadi Mukhtar, who came off injured on Wednesday as well, along with suspended centre-back Baihakki Khaizan.

Still, Stange has backed his team to cope with the absences and give the fans what they are after – a derby victory over their neighbours.

“Baihakki and Shahdan are key players but they are out and we will have to replace both,” the German added.

“But we still have 20 players available and we will see how to manage that.

“It’s a miss to lose two experienced players but I think we are well prepared and we know what we have to do.

“It’s the first match in Singapore in a fully-packed stadium here and I’m excited. Hopefully, both teams can perform on a very good level to promote our game and to win the hearts of Singaporean football fans.”

Meanwhile, Malaysia boss Dollah Salleh has declared his side will be going all out to claim the win that will give them a chance of qualifying – even though he admits it will be far from easy.

“We desperately need a win to make sure we qualify, but I believe it won’t be easy,” he said.

“Still, we will give it our very best and try to give the Malaysian fans something to cheer about.”

JDT see off Terengganu to advance into cup semis

Johor Darul Ta’zim are through to the last four of the Malaysia Cup after claiming a 3-1 win over Terengganu in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.

With the tie evenly poised following a 0-0 draw in the first leg, it was Harimau Selatan who broke the deadlock at the Larkin Stadium in the 16th minute; Safiq Rahim climbing highest inside the box to meet Nazrin Nawi’s left-wing cross with a thumping header into the back of the net.

Six minutes later, they doubled their advantage when Luciano Figueroa received possession from Amri Yahyah and fired away a shot that took a wicked deflection and beat the wrong-footed Sharbinee Allawee Ramli.

Terengganu did give themselves a glimmer of hope on the hour mark after hitting their opponents on the counter, when Ashaari Shamsuddin beat the offside trap and raced onto an Ismail Faruqi Asha’ri through-pass before calmly slotting into the bottom corner.

Nonetheless, the contest was ended 15 minutes from time when Safiq met Norshahrul Idlan Talaha’s cut-back with an emphatic finish to seal JDT’s passage to the semi-finals.

Johor Darul Ta’zim: Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Fadhli Shas, Aidil Zafuan, Marcos Antonio (Hariss Harun 57’), Asraruddin Putra Omar, Shakir Shaari, Safiq Rahim, Amri Yahyah (Jasazrin Jamaluddin 86’), Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Norshahrul Idlan Talaha 71’), Nazrin Nawi, Luciano Figueroa.

Terengganu: Sharbinee Allawee Ramli, Muhaimin Omar, Ahmad Azlan Zainal, Vincent Bikana, Zubir Azmi, Ahmad Nordin Alias, Mario Karlovic, Norfarhan Muhammad, Ismail Faruqi Asha’ri (Javier Estupinan 86’), Zairo Anuar Zalani (Abdul Manaf Mamat 56’), Ashaari Shamsuddin (Faiz Subri 79’).