League Cup Review: Geylang and Hougang seal semi-final spots
The results ensure both sides progress out of Group A and reach the semi-finals for a second successive year. Geylang will now take on Group C winners Albirex Niigata on Sunday, while Hougang take on Group B winners Balestier Khalsa a day later.
Geylang International 4 Brunei DPMM 2
Despite needing just a draw to progress, Geylang came roaring out of the blocks and scored two goals inside the first 22 minutes at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
With DPMM players appearing to halt play after Hafiz Osman went down with a head injury in the 15th minute, Bruno Castanheira received Tatsuro Inui’s inward pass before curling his shot past the outstretched right arm of DPMM keeper Wardun Yussof from 20 yards out.
The Eagles then doubled their advantage seven minutes later, with the influential Inui slipping an intelligent through ball in behind the DPMM defence, allowing captain Jozef Kaplan to slam home into an empty net.
However, they were unable to hold on to that advantage until half-time as DPMM pulled one back on the half-hour mark via a Paulo Sergio freekick from 25 yards out.
The Wasps were then back on level terms eight minutes later via Brazilian hot shot Rafael Ramazotti, who was left unmarked inside the box to nod home Najib Tarif’s free-kick.
A 2-2 scoreline would have been enough for Geylang to qualify, but they sealed their progression in style by scoring two more goals.
In the 69th minute, Castanheira received Kaplan’s through ball before slotting a neat finish beyond the onrushing Wardun.
Two minutes later, the same two players combined again on the counter attack, with Castanheira producing a ruthless finish to seal his hat-trick.
Hougang United 1 Singapore Recreation Club 1
Over at Hougang Stadium, the Cheetahs were on the verge of a shock defeat to their National Football League (NFL) Division One opponents after falling behind to a 63rd minute goal.
After a corner kick was half-cleared, the ball was played back into the area where former Home United defender Precious Emuejeraye set up Michael Hemmingway for a header which evaded Ridhuan Barudin in the Hougang goal.
But there was late drama to come as centre-back Kenneth Chang saved Hougang's blushes a minute from time, coolly sidefooting home from eight yards out after the SRC defence had failed to deal with a long free-kick.
Photos: Football Association of Singapore