Match Previews

Geylang International vs Garena Young Lions: Eagles look to keep flying

S.League | Bedok  Stadium | Thurs 5 May | 7.30pm 

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An opportunity for Geylang to keep winning.

The lowdown

After six games without a victory, Geylang International finally picked up one last week - at the home of the defending champions, no less. Faritz Hameed popped up with a captain’s goal to down Brunei DPMM and no doubt ensure Hasrin Jailani’s men were a happy bunch on that return flight to Singapore.

It was only their second win in ten league games so far this season and they will be eager to shake off the “draw-specialists” tag after sharing the spoils with the opposition in six of those.

Fortunately, it looks like their upcoming opponents will provide a prime opportunity for them to pick up another three points on the trot.

Geylang International Form

  • 30/04/16 Brunei DPMM 1-2 Geylang (S.League)
  • 21/04/16 Geylang 0-1 Tampines (S.League)
  • 15/04/16 Geylang 2-2 Home United (S.League)
  • 07/04/16 Hougang United 3-1 Geylang (S.League)
  • 01/04/16 Geylang 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)

Young Lions Form

  • 28/04/16 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Young Lions (S.League)
  • 21/04/16 Balestier Khalsa 2-0 Young Lions (S.League)
  • 08/04/16 Brunei DPMM 4-1 Young Lions (S.League)
  • 03/04/16 Young Lions 1-2 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
  • 17/03/16 Home United 4-1 Young Lions (S.League)

The Garena Young Lions went down 2-0 in their last meeting and since then, have lost seven more games.

Another defeat at Bedok will make it ten losses in a row and they need a mammoth effort to end this unseeming streak.  

Young Lions boss Patrick Hesse insisted that his team’s morale has not been affected by their poor form after being spanked by Albirex Niigata (S) last time out, but he needs to find a way to prevent their inexperience from being exploited once again. Imagine what winning again could do for their spirits.

Team news

New foreign striker Branko Cubrilo will sit this out after collecting his fourth yellow card of the season in Brunei. Otherwise, Hasrin should have a full squad to choose from.

For the Young Lions, Khairul Amri is progressing well in his recovery and made a lively cameo appearance against Albirex. It might be too soon for him to start just yet though; the same goes for centre-back Ashrul Syafeeq, who made his comeback in the same game.

Key Battle: Carlos Delgado vs Ammirul Emmran

Delgado has been a threat from range

Apart from Faritz Hameed, Carlos Delgado is the only outfield player to have started every game for Geylang this season and is a vital cog in their machine.

The Argentine is their creator-in-chief and runs the show from his position behind the main striker, roaming all over the pitch to pull the strings.

At 30, Delgado does not have pace to burn but his intelligence more than makes up for that and already he has a return of two assists.

The former Hougang United man has already tripled his last season’s goal tally and is the Eagles’ top marksman with three goals - one from the penalty spot and two from range.

Ammirul Emmran has also been an ever-present for the Young Lions this season - he’s the only player to complete all ten games - and is likely to be handed the role of clamping down on Delgado.

The combative midfielder, who turned 21 last month, stepped up earlier this season by filling in at centre-back during a crisis but has returned to a more familiar role in recent matches.

One of the team’s hardest-working players, Ammirul will enhance his side’s hopes of getting a good result if he can shut down Delgado.

The Coaches

Hasrin Jailani has displayed plenty of passion and fire in his first-ever head coach role, although he appears to have toned things down a notch in recent times.

Perhaps that energy has been channeled into more productive ways - an unlucky defeat to Tampines Rovers was followed by ousting DPMM.

The 40-year-old is not afraid to give his team licence to attack, but will hope they can convert more of those opportunities - especially against a frail Young Lions defence.

Opposite number Patrick Hesse has seen his team ship an alarming 27 goals in just ten games and he lamented their defensive errors again after the loss to Albirex.

The Frenchman must hope his rearguard keeps their focus for once, for they are quite capable of creating chances at the other end. Inexperience and naivety has to be made up for with plenty of discipline and effort if they don’t want to go home empty-handed.

Past five meetings

  • 25/02/16 Young Lions 0-2 Geylang (S.League)
  • 06/11/15 Young Lions 2-2 Geylang (S.League)
  • 04/10/15 Young Lions 2-3 Geylang (S.League)
  • 20/08/15 Geylang 1-3 Young Lions (S.League)
  • 25/10/14 Young Lions 1-1 Geylang (S.League)

Facts and Figures

  • Geylang have scored the most goals (four) from outside the box.
  • Young Lions have conceded the most headed goals (5); Geylang are one of three teams (Balestier Khalsa, Young Lions) not to have scored any headers.
  • Young Lions have conceded on four occasions during the first ten minutes, the most in the league.
  • Geylang are unbeaten against Young Lions in their last eight meetings; their last defeat was in September 2013.
  • Fareez Farhan has scored all five of the Young Lions’ league goals - that is more than his entire return (four) over his previous seasons.
  • The same goes for Faritz Hameed, who has two goals for Geylang - his first and only league goal prior to this season came in 2009.

FourFourTwo prediction

Geylang are on a high and should make this back-to-back wins, though it won’t be easy. FFT says 2-1 to the Eagles.