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SPL 2022: Geylang International 3-3 Tanjong Pagar United

Second-half drama see Jaguars come-from-behind to hold 9-men Eagles to rollercoaster 3-3 draw

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Singapore, 9 October 2022 - Despite ending the match with midfielder Joshua Pereira in goal at Our Tampines Hub, Geylang International put up a battling display to secure a 3-3 draw with Tanjong Pagar United on Sunday evening.


Tanjong Pagar are now out of contention for third position, which could potentially guarantee an AFC Cup play-off spot depending on the winners of the Singapore Cup


For more match photos, visit our photo album in the SportPlus.sg photo gallery here.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Two first-half Geylang goals were cancelled out by a trio of Tanjong Pagar headers after the home side were reduced to 10-men and subsequently nine, but Vincent Bezecourt’s late free-kick salvaged a late point for the Eagles.


Jaguars head coach Hasrin Jailani said: “It was a game of two halves. We came back very strong from the second half even before the red card.”

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Tanjong Pagar remain in fourth position, two points ahead of Geylang, and four points ahead of sixth-placed Hougang United with just two league matches remaining.


Tanjong Pagar’s failure to win also meant Tampines Rovers have mathematically secured third spot in the league, along with potential qualification into the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup group stage phase.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


The Jaguars will now have to win the 2022 Singapore Cup to secure a play-off spot to enter the AFC Cup group stage phase.


The winner of the 2022 Singapore Cup will gain the only play-off slot into the 2023 AFC Cup group stage phase. Should the Lion City Sailors, Albirex Niigata (S) or Tampines Rovers themselves win the 2022 Singapore Cup competition, the slot will go to the Stags as the second-best placed local team.


For more match photos, visit our photo album in the SportPlus.sg photo gallery here.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Lion City Sailors – as the league’s best-placed local team – will contest in the AFC Champions League play-offs for a berth in the group stages of Asia’s premier club competition. The Sailors will drop into the AFC Cup group stage phase should they fail to progress from the Champions League play-off phase.


Both sides were evenly matched with similar 3-5-2 systems. Tanjong Pagar were unchanged, with defender Akram Azman continuing in a left-centre-back role. Geylang head coach Noor Ali recalled left-wing-back Ilhan Noor and midfielder Huzaifah Aziz into the line-up, which meant midfielder Joshua Pereira dropped back into defence.


A cagey start to proceedings was amplified by a series of scathing challenges midway through the game. First, Geylang’s Huzaifah Aziz was booked for a reckless tackle on Blake Ricciuto on the 26th minute mark.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Next, two minutes later, it was Tanjong Pagar’s Raihan Rahman’s turn to be yellow-carded for a flying tackle on Sime Zuzul to prevent a Geylang counter-attack.


Geylang eventually pulled ahead on the half hour mark from a similar situation – a quickly taken free kick from goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.


Striker Sime Zuzul tussled with defender Raihan Rahman to win the aerial ball, before feeding teammate Vincent Bezecourt with a square pass across goal. The Frenchman weaved his way past surrounding defenders before stroking the ball across ground into the bottom corner, on his weaker left foot.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Defender Raihan Rahman had to come off injured thereafter, replaced by national team veteran Shakir Hamzah.


The 29-year-old defender with 58 international caps for Singapore nearly made an instant impact, after his header from a corner came crashing off the post just seconds after jogging on.


Shakir Hamzah then went from virtually hero to villain on the 41st minute mark. He clumsily diverted Tajeli Salamat’s driven cross into his own net, giving Geylang a two-goal cushion before the half-time interval.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


The Jaguars came out from the interval with greater attacking intention and saw their chances improve on the 57th minute. Geylang’s Huzaifah Aziz was sent his marching orders for a second yellow card offence on Tanjong Pagar’s Rusyaidi Salime.


Replays showed Huzaifah Aziz could have been nudged by Tanjong Pagar striker Reo Nishiguchi into Rusyaidi Salime’s path, but referee Andrea Verocino’s mind was made up. Geylang were down to ten-men.


For more match photos, visit our photo album in the SportPlus.sg photo gallery here.

Tanjong Pagar capitalised on their numerical advantage just after the hour mark. Captain Faritz Hameed burst down the right flank and his lofted cross was deftly headed into the net by Australian teammate Blake Ricciuto.


The Jaguars, buoyed by their attacking momentum, eventually overturned a two-goal deficit, and drew level in the 72nd minute courtesy of substitute Khairul Nizam. A short corner-kick found Aqhari Abdullah, who whipped a sumptuous cross into the box. Khairul Nizam rose highest to head past a flailing Zaiful Nizam, who failed to prevent the ball from sailing into the top corner of his net.

PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Minutes later, Tanjong Pagar could have taken the lead for the first time but striker Reo Nishiguchi, who netted five goals against Young Lions last week, saw a lobbed effort bounce narrowly wide of the post with Zaiful Nizam stuck in no-man’s land.


Zaiful Nizam was hurt from scrambling back towards goal, and having used substitutes on three separate occasions, Geylang were forced to play with nine-men and midfielder Joshua Pereira in goal for the remaining eight minutes plus injury time.


Despite