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Match Preview: Eagles Face Stern White Swans Test

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Photo credit: Football Association of Singapore

Geylang International's 11-game winless run against Albirex Niigata in all competitions looks set to continue on Tuesday (June 6) when the Tampines outfit travel to Jurong East Stadium to face off against the reigning league champions.

Despite the visitors' latest win against whipping boys Young Lions that halted their three-game losing streak, they are under no illusion of their existing squad strength when comparing to that of title favourites White Swans, who are currently two points off the top on second.

Headlined by former Southampton striker Tadanari Lee, the Japanese satellite club - largely comprising of young talent fresh out of colleges in Japan - have been relentless in their title charge, posting big wins in the process.

One of those hammerings came against Geylang on April 1 when the then home side were thoroughly outplayed and found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-1 scoreline.

With White Swans coach Kazuaki Yoshinoga having not lost to his opposite number Noor Ali for the last eight matches, another hiding seems to be on the cards unless the Eagles can spring a surprise and rewrite the script.

Perhaps one silver lining for Geylang is the fact that their opponents' backline have not been reliable in recent games, conceding two goals apiece for the last two fixtures. On top of that, their first-choice keeper Hassan Sunny is ruled out with an injury, and Hyrulnizam Juma'at will continue to deputise in his absence for just the third time this season.

Still the Eagles, who have conceded an average of two goals per game this campaign, have their own defensive organisation to do to keep out a well-oiled White Swans attacking force.

Team news: Huzaifah Aziz who was unfortunate to pick up an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a league match against Hougang United last month, will not feature in this match. Meanwhile, Geylang welcome the return of Rio Sakuma who was absent for the last two games due to an injury. But it remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to start in the central of defence.

Player to watch: Vincent Bezecourt - By the lofty standards that he had set last season, the French attacking midfielder had an underwhelming start to this campaign, with only three goals in his first 10 games. But he seems to be close to his best in the past two matches, as he scored a screamer in a 3-2 defeat to Tanjong Pagar United and carved open the Young Lions defence twice for his teammates to score in a 2-0 win. His game-changing ability will be crucial for Geylang to have any hope of upsetting Albirex Niigata.

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