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Match Preview: Eagles Look to Bounce Back in Naval Battle with Sailors

Photo credit: Idi Bakhtiar

There is no let up in Geylang International's punishing fixture schedule as they face title contenders Lion City Sailors and Brunei DPMM in the space of five days before the league pauses for an international break.

Having seen their unbeaten start to the season ended by the Jaguars last Friday, the Eagles are seeking to avoid suffering another league defeat in the hands of the Sailors on Wednesday (March 15).

Despite the latest setback at Jurong East Stadium, Geylang International are still joint top with Tampines Rovers on seven points, albeit with more games played than the other teams.

But with only a point separating them with the fifth-placed Lion City Sailors, head coach Noor Ali and his men know that there is little room for errors as they embark on a testing sequence of fixtures.

Squaring off against the 2021 league champions would be no easy feat for the Eagles.

Even though the Sailors were humbled 4-0 by fellow title favourites Albirex Niigata and lost midfield workhorse Anumanthan Kumar to a red card and hotshot Kodai Tanaka to an injury in the process, the star-studded squad possess strength in depth with Singapore national players and quality foreigners from back to front.

Also prior to the White Swans defeat, it is to be noted that they had notched a perfect winning record, seeing off the likes of Tanjong Pagar United and Brunei DPMM by a similar 3-1 scoreline.

While the odds are not in Geylang International's favour, the underdogs can take heart from the fact that they had taken off seven out of the possible 12 points from the billionaire-backed club last season.

So long as the same can-do spirit is displayed by the men in green as before, there is every chance for the Eagles to torpedo the Sailors' title hopes and disrupt the established order of Singaporean football.

Team news: Noor Ali is relieved to have Akmal Azman complete his two-game suspension as his availability will alleviate the manpower crunch in full-back positions. He also hopes to have the return of fellow defenders Fadli Kamis and Ahmad Syahir from their respective injuries sooner than later, as the club vies for an AFC Cup spot.

Player to watch: Vincent Bezecourt - The talismanic midfielder has been a man for big occasions as his total of three strikes helped down Lion City Sailors to 1-0 and 3-1 defeats last season. Well marshalled by the Jaguars defence which limited his impact on the pitch in the previous game, Geylang International fans would hope to see their midfield maestro raise his game and lead his team to an improbable victory.

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