Match Preview: Nothing Less than Maximum Effort from Eagles to Avoid Early Cup Exit
Geylang International are on the brink of elimination from the Singapore Cup ahead of their final Group B match against Tanjong Pagar United this Sunday (November 6).
Two consecutive defeats in the group stage have seen the Eagles rooted to the bottom of the table with no point to show for.
A combination of defensive fragility and lapse of concentration in the backline - with seven goals conceded in the past two matches - has led to the club's undoing in this tourney.
While it remains mathematically possible for Geylang International to qualify for the semi-finals as runners-up, this would require a herculean effort from the team as well as a favour from their cross-town rivals.
The 2009 cup winners would have to score at least four goals against Tanjong Pagar United and hope the already qualified Tampines Rovers are able to beat second-placed Hougang United in the other fixture, allowing them to advance by goals scored.
Looking at the head-to-head records against their forthcoming opponents, the Eagles can take inspiration from the fact that they have gone unbeaten against the Jaguars this season, winning twice and drawing the other two.
One of those victories was a 5-0 thumping at the Jurong East Stadium in a league game in July.
If Geylang International are able to repeat that five-star performance this weekend, there is still hope of avoiding an early exit from the cup competition.
Team news: Sime Zuzul picked up an ankle injury after clashing with Hougang United's Anders Aplin in the previous match. His involvement in the final group game is doubtful and it would be a huge blow to Geylang International's hunt for goals.
Fadli Kamis and Abdil Qaiyyim are the usual absentees, being victims of anterior cruciate ligament and groin injuries, respectively.
Player to watch: Vincent Bezecourt - When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. This proverb best describes the Frenchman's important contributions to Geylang International this season.
In the heavy defeat to the Cheetahs last Tuesday, Bezecourt - supplier of the Eagles' first goal - tried his best to get his team back into the game. But he had no such luck as his attempts went wide late in the second half.
The Ultras Eagles, who has recognised Bezecourt as the Fans' Player of the Season - hope their midfield ace would perform miracles on Sunday.