Eagles clinch first win of the season

It was a case of third time's the charm for Geylang International on Thursday evening as they earned their first win of the season following a 2-0 victory over an insipid Garena Young Lions side at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Prior to this encounter, the Eagles had drawn two successive games against title favourites Tampines Rovers and defending champions Brunei DPMM.

It was an one-sided affair in a match watched by a crowd of 2,416 and in truth things could have been far worse for the Young Lions had the Eagles been more clinical in front of goal.

Right from the start, it seemed the Young Lions were still reeling from their 5-0 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) last week as they failed to get any control of the match, with the Eagles dominating all areas of the pitch.

After relentless pressure, the away side took a deserved lead in the 14th minute when Faritz Hameed, starting as a right midfielder, blitzed down the flank and crossed for Branko Cubrilo to squeeze in the opener at the near post.

It was the Croatian's first goal of the season and he became the fifth player to net this season for the Eagles.

On the other hand, chances were at a premium for the Young Lions and they had to wait till the 44th minute for their first real attempt at goal. Muhelmy Suhaimi found space in the box but unfortunately for him and the men in red, his attempt would only sting the palms of goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari.

While the Eagles continued to pour forward and dominate the encounter, Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani was a figure of frustration on the sidelines as he watched his side squander chance after chance.

But in the 66th minute, Faritz turned from provider to goalscorer as he settled his side's nerves with a clinical finish after being set up by a sumptuous cross from substitute Gabriel Quak.

When asked if his side's failure to convert their numerous chances was a cause for concern, Hasrin said he was unperturbed.

Hasrin said:"The most important thing is the win."

"Everyone will say we missed a lot of chances but the most important thing is that we have a win and this gives us confidence going forward.

"The scoreline is not important for me and a win is a win for me, but while I'm pleased, there are a lot of things to improve on."

Meanwhile, Young Lions head coach Patrick Hesse lamented the fact that his side conceded an early goal.

Hesse said : "We conceded the goal too early and Geylang knew how to control the match."

"We have to defend better and not concede too early.

"Our young players worked hard all week and are very disappointed but we shouldn't let our heads go down and we must continue to work hard."

Photo: S.League