Geylang International vs Home United: Which wounded animal will prevail?

S.League | Jalan Besar Stadium | Fri 15 Apr | 7.45pm  

Billed as

The meeting of two teams who suffered respective defeats in the last round

The lowdown

Geylang International Form

  • Hougang United 3-1 Geylang (S.League)
  • Geylang 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Geylang 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • Geylang 0-0 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
  • Garena Young Lions 0-2 Geylang (S.League)

Home United Form

  • Home 0-3 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • Balestier Khalsa 0-1 Home United (S.League)
  • Home 4-1 Garena Young Lions (S.League)
  • Brunei DPMM 2-1 Home (S.League)
  • Home 1-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)

 

Both sides have title-winning ambitions, but are yet to set the league alight.

They find themselves now locked on eight points apiece after seven matches, six points off leaders Albirex Niigata (S).

Geylang International made waves in pre-season for their shrewd recruitment exercise that included several former LionsXII and Young Lions players, but have struggled to find the killer instinct in front of goal – with one win and five draws to show for in their first six matches.

Last Thursday, the Eagles’ unbeaten run was finally ended after a 3-1 defeat to high-flying Hougang United.

They had led at half-time through Carlos Delgado’s penalty, but the home side managed to turn things around after the break through Stipe Plazibat, Faiz Salleh and Raihan Rahman.

Home United were touted as realistic contenders for the trophy after managing to lure the likes of Faris Ramli, Zulfahmi Arifin and the Fandi brothers (Irfan and Ikhsan), but only managed to get their first triumph (a 4-1 victory over Garena Young Lions) after five matches.

It was thought that the Protectors were on the road to recovery after they next overcame Balestier Khalsa 1-0 to make it two wins in a row, but they were swiftly brought back down to earth in a 3-0 mauling by Albirex in last Friday’s televised clash.

Both sides will surely be aiming to bounce back from their respective disappointing results and that should make this game a real spectacle for the fans.

Team News

Geylang have a largely fit squad to call upon, bar chief forward Branko Cubrilo, who is still recovering from an injury.

Otherwise the rest should be good to go, with the attacking talents of Stanely Ng, Gabriel Quak, Amy Recha and Sahil Suhaimi all available to start.

As for Home, this match is still too early for Faris to feature, with the former LionsXII winger still recovering from his groin problem.

Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi are also unavailable due to National Service, while R Aaravin is still working his way back to full fitness. Azhar Sairudin is hopeful he has shaken off his partial MCL tear.

However, fans of the Protectors will be pleased to hear that defensive lynchpin Abdil Qaiyyim is back for selection after missing the Albirex defeat through a last-minute injury.

Key Battle: Carlos Delgado vs Song Uiyong

Delgado firing in a penalty in his last game

It will be a blockbuster of a clash in middle of the park between these two playmakers.

Delgado has been a revelation since joining the Eagles, constantly probing the opposition with his forward runs and through passes.

The 30-year-old Argentinian has also gotten amongst the goals, with his three goals so far making him the club’s top scorer.

Meanwhile Song is the bright light in Home’s otherwise dull season, keeping things tidy in the central areas and rarely misplacing a pass. The 22-year-old South Korean’s industrious display will be key to closing down the in-form Delgado.  

The Coaches

On the side lines, it is an intriguing battle between two young and budding local coaches.

Geylang’s Hasrin Jailani, a midfield hard man in his playing days, has placed a great emphasis on hard work for his side – central midfielders like Isa Halim and Nor Azli Yusoff are constantly getting stuck in to win the ball.

Meanwhile Home’s Philippe Aw favours a smooth passing game which provides aesthetic value for the fans – with attackers like Ken Ilso, Khairul Nizam and Aqhari Abdullah often spotted changing positions during a game.

Facts and Figures

Last Five Meetings

  • Geylang 2-1 Home (S.League, Oct ’15)
  • Home 0-1 Geylang (S.League, May ’15)
  • Geylang 1-1 Home (S.League, Mar ’15)
  • Geylang 1-4 Home (S.League, May ’14)
  • Home 4-1 Geylang (S.League, Mar ’14)

 

  • Home have the edge on the overall head-to-heads, winning 29 times out of 37 encounters. Geylang won just five times, while the other three games ended up in draws.
  • Both sides’ top scorers have scored three so far – Geylang’s Delgado, Home’s Ilso and Nizam.
  • The last time both sides met, Abdil played as a goalkeeper in the final six minutes after goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at was dismissed. The 26-year-old ended up conceding a last-gasp winner to Bruno Castanheira in a 2-1 defeat.
  • Aw has yet to beat Geylang so far as Home coach, losing two and drawing one in 2015.
  • Geylang’s Isa, Nor Azli, Stanely, Shariff Samat and Indra Sahdan have all plied their trade previously with Home.

FourFourTwo prediction

With both sides likely to go for broke in this game, we are expecting an action-packed affair with lots of goals in store. Geylang to nick it 3-2 in an exciting five-goal game.