Insipid Geylang stage late rally to down Young Lions

Two goals in the last 15 minutes saw Geylang International escape with a 3-1 victory against the Garena Young Lions on Thursday night in the S.League. 

The hosts got off to a flying start as Carlos Delgado scored from the spot after just two minutes, with Sahil Suhaimi earning the penalty as he was tugged back in the box.

But instead of building on the lead, the Eagles “went to sleep”, in the words of head coach Hasrin Jailani, as they struggled to string three passes in a row, never mind put together an attacking move.

Even conceding the equaliser on 53 minutes failed to wake them up and Hasrin was not a happy man after the final whistle.

“It’s not one or two players having an off-day; the whole team, all 11 players, didn’t play [well] at all,” he asserted. “We only played [actual football in] the last 20 minutes, there's nothing much I can say.

“I think this is one of the worst performances [from us this season], but anyway, three points is three points. You play well and then draw or lose; you don’t play well but win - which one is better? I prefer the three points, but at the end of the day we still need to go back home and see what we need to do.”

Apart from Stanely Ng forcing a save from Young Lions goalkeeper Benjamin Bertrand in the 11th minute, Geylang did not threaten their opposition again up until a double substitution on the hour mark.

Having seen Fareez Farhan level from the spot after Rusyaidi Salime was clumsily bundled over by Daniel Bennett, Hasrin decided he had seen enough. On came Amy Recha and Gabriel Quak, which immediately injected new attacking impetus upfront.

Sahil headed a cross from Shawal Anuar narrowly wide before Quak saw a fierce effort parried away, as Geylang sought to retake the lead.

When they did, it was through fortuitous circumstances. Yuki Ichikawa’s header at a corner was inexplicably fumbled by Bertrand, allowing the same player to follow up and gleefully smash home.

Their resistance broken, the Young Lions started to open up and it was no surprise they conceded again in the 89th minute. This time, it was Quak who drilled home a low effort after dancing his way past three players from the right for his second of the season.

Shawal and Quak then each wasted the opportunity to make the margin of victory wider, but there was no way back for the visitors by then.

It made it 10 defeats on the bounce for the Young Lions and left head coach Patrick Hesse fuming at their inability to focus from the very first whistle.

“When we start the game, we already lost 1-0 because the guys are not able to play 10 minutes without conceding a goal,” he lamented. “If you cannot do this, you can’t play in the S.League and I'm very very disappointed.

“It’s easy for the opponents when they win 1-0, they can just sit back and counter-attack. Every game, we give three points to the opponents because we are not focused to fight from the first minute.”

For Geylang, it was the first time they secured consecutive wins this season and even though the display left more to be desired, Hasrin admitted he wouldn’t mind winning in a similar fashion in future.

“Back-to-back wins are very important and this will build up the confidence of the players,” he noted.

“We will take it one step at a time and hopefully the momentum can keep us going; how we win doesn’t matter.”