With the Singapore Premier League pausing for about a month due to a presidential election followed by an international break, Geylang International have unfinished business to do as they return to league action against Lion City Sailors at Bishan Stadium this Saturday (September 16).
Targetted for a top-four finish at the start of the season, the Eagles enter into the league's final round in fifth, trailling fourth-placed Balestier Khalsa by three points. Both teams have identical goal difference of -9.
But their quest of pipping their local rivals to fourth on the final day of the campaign is not fully within their control as they would require a huge favour from their cross-town rivals Tampines Rovers to deny the Tigers any points.
Besides, the odds of the away side securing the much-needed three points is a long shot considering that they are up against a star-studded Sailors squad that is stacked with local talents and quality foreign players from back to front.
While Geylang had proved to be Lion City Sailors' bogey team last year with a record of two wins and a draw, there is no such joy this season as the fallen Singaporeans giants were outclassed 3-0 in an earlier Bishan encounter before going down 2-1 at Our Tampines Hub to Maxime Lestinnie's brilliantly taken pair of free-kicks.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges for this weekend clash, the least the heroes in green could do for their long-suffering diehard supporters is to put in a dogged fight and sign off the league campaign on a positive note.
Team news: Ahmad Syahir and Naufal Azman will play no part in the final league game of the season as they serve their just punishment for their reckless challenges in a recent Balestier fixture. Also missing in action are midfield duo Vincent Bezecourt and Huzaifah Aziz who have fallen victim to cruciate ligament injuries.
Player to watch: Iqbal Hussain - The 30-year-old forward represented the Lions in Tuesday's international friendly against Chinese Taipei where he impressed with his trickery and pace which posed problems to the opposition defence. A goal down against the East Asian rivals, he helped his side earn a penalty which resulted in Song Ui-yong scoring the equalising goal. That contribution was vital as it set Singapore to a 3-1 victory. Given that Iqbal's confidence is sky high at the moment, fans are excited to see what bags of tricks he could pull off against a top-level Sailors defence.