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Match Preview: Low Sheds "Headless Chicken" Tag


Photo credit: Football Association of Singapore

"Stop running like a headless chicken!" shouted an exasperated spectator as he hurled his remarks towards Gareth Low during Geylang International's 2-0 defeat to Tanjong Pagar United in March.


The outburst from the away section of Jurong East Stadium came after the 24-year-old central midfielder struggled to keep pace with the intensity of the game and was overpowered by the Jaguars in the centre of the pitch. He was then put out of his misery by his head coach at half-time when Shafiq Ghani took his place for the remainder of the game.


Largely used as a substitute to preserve a lead or a point for the Eagles, his tireless efforts have not fully convinced supporters of his ability to play for the two-time league champions, with his less-than-stellar football career doing no favour to this unfortunate perception.


While Low can claim to have won the 2020 Singapore Premier League with Albirex Niigata, he played in less than half of the games with them - mostly first-half appearances - and remained as an unused bench player during the title run-in. The former under-21 player then joined "budget" club Balestier Khalsa the following season, scoring only one goal across 45 appearances.


On a positive note, since that earlier Jaguars encounter, Low has shown, albeit fleetingly, good application of his footballing brain.


In fact, it was his quick thinking that led to his first ever goal for Geylang in an away fixture against the Tigers in April. Anticipating a hashed clearance from Hairul Syirhan and seeing the keeper way off his line, he chested the incoming ball before looping it into the unguarded net.


Another fleeting moment of brilliance was on show in the last match against Brunei DPMM. After evading his marker with a quick turn and pushing the ball into space, Low sent the ball to Yushi Yamaya down the right flank, before running to the far post to head Yamaya's return cross for his second goal for the club.


Should Low be handed his back-to-back start against the White Swans on Thursday (August 3), it is highly certain that he would not be accorded much space and time on the ball as he had against the Wasps.


Runaway champions Albirex have blown away their opponents with their high-octane attacking football. Holding a five-point lead with a game in hand over their nearest rivals Lion City Sailors, they are on a mission to grab at least five points from the remaining four matches to sew up the championship.


While it appears to be far from ideal to meet the reigning leaders in their current form, the fifth-placed Eagles who are chasing for Asian glory, have a recent history of affecting title outcomes. Having earned the scalp of fellow title contenders Tampines Rovers a couple of weeks ago, the Geylang faithful will be counting on Low and their other heroes in green to battle hard against Albirex and deliver another stunning result.

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Jeff Salleh
Jeff Salleh
Aug 02, 2023

Better hair do, better games ;)

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