Match Preview: Honours at Stake as Eastern Derby Looms


Photo credit: Idi Bakhtiar

Geylang International return from the international break in preparation for the 65th Eastern derby this Saturday (April 2).


The Eagles' league results prior to the international break had been mixed. A stunning victory over title favourites Lion City Sailors was followed by a last-gasp loss to rivals Hougang United and then a hard-earned draw against surprise leaders Tanjong Pagar United. Garnering four points from a possible nine, the team currently sit fifth in the table.


But the league table does not fully reflect Geylang's campaign so far. The team had displayed tenacity and grit throughout the three games. Even when the side found themselves trailing their opponents by a goal, they refused to throw in the towel and fought hard for the equaliser.


Having rejuvenated by the international break, the Eagles are raring to regain their winning momentum and have their hard work rewarded with points. The team need no reminder from last season's dismal start where a 2-1 win over Tanjong Pagar United on the opening day preceded an eight-game winless run.


Geylang International's quest to end the winless sequence this weekend seems improbable as they face a formidable Tampines Rovers squad. The Stags are on the roll after thrashing Hougang United 7-1 in their previous game, and this would not be the most ideal time to be playing against them.


The Eagles must also be wary of their opponents' deadly strike duo - Boris Kopitovic and Taufik Suparno. The pair have already scored seven of the nine team's goals. Any hope of a positive result for Geylang International would hinge on shutting all attacking channels to the duo.


Team news: Zaiful Nizam returns from international duty with the Lions. The Eagles squad are given a clean bill of health.


Player to watch: Zaiful Nizam - With Tampines strike duo in imperious form, the Geylang International captain is expected to be kept busy between the sticks. His reflex saves and solid handling of the ball have prevented the Eagles from conceding more goals and kept the contests tight. His goalkeeping heroics would be called upon once more for the Eastern derby.



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