Khairul Amri hat-trick gives Tampines comeback win over Geylang

Tampines Rovers tightened their grip on second spot in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) after dishing out a 4-1 defeat to Geylang International at Our Tampines Hub (OTH) on Saturday evening.

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The Stags are now on 33 points and will still sit in second regardless of the result from the Brunei DPMM and Home United clash.

Geylang had taken the lead in the 32nd minute through Fairoz Hasan but Khairul Amri’s hat-trick helped Tampines come from behind while Amirul Adli added the icing on the cake with a well-deserved goal.

Tampines had dominated the first half but profligacy and a superb showing by Geylang goalkeeper Zainol Gulam kept them at bay.

The custodian was first called into action in the 12th minute after Jordan Webb took a chance from outside the box and saw Zainol getting down quickly to repel his effort.

In the 21st minute, Ryutaro Megumi sent a great ball across the face of goal and Amri was well placed to score at the far post but he contrived to hit wide instead.

Zainol was further called upon twice, first to deny Webb in the 24th minute before he parried away a brilliant free-kick by Fahrudin Mustafic moments later. Megumi could have opened the scoring from the rebound but he blasted the ball over instead.

Against the run of play, the Eagles then assumed the lead in the 32nd minute. Jufri Taha launched a free-kick towards Afiq Yunos, whose knock-down found Ryson Yap. The midfielder forced a good save out of Syazwan but the ball fell for Fairoz and he drilled it into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

Tampines continued to bang on the door and Daniel Bennett was unlucky to see his header pushed away by Zainol in the 35th minute, while Amri saw a fierce strike tipped onto the post by the goalkeeper, before the half came to an end to Geylang’s relief.

The 15-minute reprieve did nothing to change the face of the game though and it was no surprise when Tampines scored the goals they have been seeking all evening after the restart.

Amri made up for all his earlier misses by scoring a hat-trick in the space of 20 minutes, first tapping the ball into goal after Amirul’s cut-back found him in the 49th minute.

He scored a similar effort on the hour mark, this time after being on the end of Megumi’s low cross and capped it all off in the 65th minute after finishing off the penalty he earned.

Amirul nearly added his name onto the scoresheet in the 68th minute, but he failed to hit the target from 40 yards out despite spotting Zainol way off his line.

Ten minutes from time, Amirul had another chance. Yasir Hanapi played a quick free-kick towards Amri, who spotted Amirul’s run into the box and found him accordingly. The midfielder then had a go, but Zainol was able to tip the ball away at full stretch.

But the 22-year-old was finally rewarded for his efforts in the 88th minute, after Webb lobbed a ball towards Zulfadhmi Suzliman, who in turn backheeled it towards Amirul and he lashed the ball past Zainol to make it 4-1.

Both Geylang and Tampines will play again on 1 August. The Eagles face Balestier Khalsa at Bedok Stadium while Tampines take on Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Tampines Rovers FC: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Amirul Adli, Ryutaro Megumi, Jordan Webb, Shameer Aziq (Madhu Mohana 71’), Daniel Bennett, Yasir Hanapi, Khairul Amri, Irfan Najeeb (Irwan Shah 85’), Hafiz Sujad (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 61’)

Geylang International FC: Zainol Gulam (GK), Jufri Tah, Darren Teh, Ryan Syaffiq, Fuad Ramli (Azhar Sairudin 63’), Fumiya Kogure, Ryson Yap (Ahmad Zaki), Afiq Yunos, Fairoz Hasan, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Zikos Chua (Anders Aplin 48’)