Match Preview: Eagles Seek to Quash Stags' AFC Cup Hopes
Geylang International head into the Eastern Derby clash against Tampines Rovers this Wednesday (August 3) with supreme confidence.
Fresh from their 5-0 demolition of Tanjong Pagar United, the in-form side seek to extend their winning momentum against their eastern rivals.
The Eagles' seven-game unbeaten run has turbo-charged the club up the league standings to fifth on 23 points, leaving their dismal start to the season a thing of the past.
The sequence of excellent results has also thrown the mid-table side into the fray of qualifying for the AFC Cup - Asia's second-tier continental competition.
After swatting aside their fellow contenders Hougang United and Tanjong Pagar United in back-to-back matches, Geylang International are six points adrift from the qualifying berth, with the third-placed Jaguars holding that spot.
The Eagles, who are one point ahead of the Stags, hope to make three in a row against their nearest rivals and land a knockout blow to their continental aspirations.
Their neighbours have been in torrid form since returning from their AFC Cup assignment, with one win and a draw from six matches.
Although Geylang International possess the superior form vis-à-vis their opponents', they cannot lose sight of their opposing marksman Boris Kopitovic, the league's top goal scorer with 18 goals.
The 27-year-old Montinegrin has continued to pump in the goals despite his club's recent slump.
The Eagles with the league's joint-highest number of clean sheets, would have to mark Kopitovic out of the game, just as they did with Reo Nishiguchi in the previous fixture.
With Geylang International losing to their town rivals in two earlier rounds this season, achieving derby success on the third try would add a feather to their cap.
Team news: With two games played in a space of five days, Geylang International head coach Noor Ali hopes that his charges are able to recover quickly for the derby encounter.
Noor still does not have the services of Fadli Kamis and Fareez Farhan, with the former out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury and the latter building his match fitness.