Match Preview: Eagles Ready for Battle Against Sailors
Geylang International head coach Noor Ali directs his charges to their battle stations as they brace for a Lion City Sailors onslaught this Sunday (September 4).
Despite stringing impressive results against their local rivals in recent months, the Coach of the Month for July knows that his team cannot rest on their laurels as their opponents are in a league of their own.
Since the appointment of Luka Lalic as the Sailors interim coach weeks ago, the star-studded squad have swept aside their challengers by cricket scorelines (10-1, 7-0, 9-4 against Young Lions, Tanjong Pagar United, Hougang United respectively).
To avoid the fate of their vanquished competitors, the Eagles boss would have to drill his team to defend with full-blooded commitment.
One combatant whom Noor will be counting on at the Battle of Jalan Besar is his captain and goalkeeper, Zaiful Nizam.
The battle-hardened campaigner - playing in his 15th season of his professional career - has been a safe pair of hands this year, helping his side achieve the third-meanest defence in the league and securing eight clean sheets in the process.
Zaiful's commendable performance has given him an edge over Lion City Sailors goalie Hassan Sunny in the race for Golden Glove, with the former having one more shutout than his nearest rival.
With the personal accolade at stake, the Geylang International custodian would be fired up to put his body on the line in repelling an anticipated heavy assault by Lion City Sailors.
Team news: Umar Akhbar is available for selection after serving his two-game ban. But the defensive midfielder is unlikely to start the upcoming fixture with Huzaifah Aziz showing good form in his absence.
Fadli Kamis is the sole absentee as he continues his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained earlier in the season.