Match Preview: Togetherness Key to Eagles Winning Race for Continental Football
With five games remaining to the end of the season, the finishing line is in sight for Geylang International to book a spot to next season's AFC Cup, Asia's second-tier continental competition.
After clinching a miraculous victory against a star-studded Lion City Sailors squad last weekend, there has been no let-up to the Eagles' relentless pursuit for Asian football, with the fourth-placed team only four points behind their nearest rivals, Tampines Rovers, who presently sit on that qualifying berth.
To pip their cross-town neighbours to that coveted third position, the rejuvenated team - who have made a remarkable turnaround to their dismal start to the campaign after amassing 27 points from a possible 36 - have to keep up their fighting spirit that has been on display since June.
That determination to succeed as a team was epitomised in that resounding win against the Sailors.
The Geylang International players not only turned a one-goal deficit into a two-goal advantage inside the first 45 minutes, but they also endured a heavy barrage of shots from the opposing players with brave blocks and last-ditch tackles.
Their teammates from the bench, including the injured Sime Zuzul who was taken off during the first period, also showed solidarity by cheering those battling on the pitch to victory.
Morale in the Eagles camp is at an all-time high as they prepare to host Hougang United at Our Tampines Hub this Sunday (September 11).
Their mid-table rivals, who are trailling four points in sixth, have been wildly inconsistent in recent matches - beating Tampines Rovers 4-2 in one game and losing 6-1 to Balestier Khalsa in the next.
Regardless which Cheetahs that will turn up at the Eagles Nest, the home side have to keep a watchful eyes on two of their former players - Shawal Anuar and Amy Recha.
The strike duo had combined seven out of the team's 12 goals in the previous three games.
Should Hougang United be firing on all cylinders this weekend, the Geylang International fans can count on their players to see through the challenge and return with the points.
Team news: Geylang International welcome the services of Tajeli Salamat, after the Lion City Sailors loanee sat out against his parent club in the previous fixture.
But the Eagles coaching staff are sweating over the fitness of Sime Zuzul. The club's top goalscorer limped off the field during the first half of the Sailors game, and was later reported to have sustained an injury to his quadriceps. He will be given a late fitness test to determine his availability.
One player certainly to be sidelined is Fadli Kamis who continues his road to recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.