Match Preview: Eagles to Tighten Up Defence Ahead of Cheetahs Clash


Photo credit: Idi Bakhtiar

Geylang International must win against Hougang United when they face their fierce rivals in their second group stage match of the Singapore Cup on Tuesday (November 1).


With Tampines Rovers and Tanjong Pagar United already triumphing their aforementioned opponents respectively in the earlier round, the Eagles have to collect three points at the Hougang Stadium to stay in contention of qualifying for the semi-finals as Group B runners-up minimally.


In preparing for that match, Geylang International head coach Noor Ali's first order of business would be to drill his charges on the training ground to play as a compact defensive unit.


The Eagles backline - save for Rio Sakuma - has to vastly improve from last week's disorganised performance against the Stags.


Not only Joshua Pereira could not cope with the physicality of his opposite number, Boris Kopitovic; Faizal Roslan also suffered the misfortune of conceding an own goal and a penalty in the same match.


To top it off, Geylang International's well-documented vulnerability in defending setpieces was exposed once more in injury time when Tampines Rovers Kyoga Nakumura clinched a late winner from Yasir Hanapi's corner.


Facing the Cheetahs in the mid-week game, the Eagles need no reminder on how their opponents are able to exploit any signs of fragility along the backline.


As highlighted in their latest league encounter, the Hougang attackers overwhelmed the Geylang defence and succeeded in plundering four goals to overturn a two-goal deficit.


That unpleasant episode has reinforced the importance of the Eagles in beefing up their defences, so as to stand any chance of booking their ticket to the last four of the competition.


Team news: Fadli Kamis and Abdil Qaiyyim will play no part in the upcoming fixture as they continue to nurse their respective anterior cruciate ligament and groin injuries.


Player to watch: Rio Sakuma - After shipping three goals in last week's derby, the 1.79m commanding centre-back - who is a rock for Geylang International this season - has to bring much-needed calm and stability to his defence.

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