Match Preview: Unpredictable Eagles in Surprise Hunt for Top-3 Finish
It has been a roller coaster 2023 Singapore Premier League season for Geylang International fans so far.
From the thrill of the last-gasp comeback victory over Hougang United, to the chillness in the manner the Eagles had comfortably see off the challenges of Brunei DPMM and Balestier Khalsa, to the heartbreaking heavy defeat to Albirex Niigata, the Geylang faithful have been heading into games lately not knowing whether their hearts have what it takes to endure the action on the pitch.
Despite the inconsistent performances and mixed results, Geylang International still find themselves in fourth spot of a nine-team league on 13 points.
If the Eagles can eke a win against their upcoming opponents Lion City Sailors this Sunday (May 7), they might even draw level with the title favourites on the same number of points.
But the Eagles supporters need no further reminders on how tough the weekend match against the Sailors will be.
In the previous encounter in March, they watched helplessly from the Bishan Stadium stand as their team were outclassed by their star-studded foes and succumbed to a 3-0 loss. That night, the away defence could not cope with the quality attacking plays from the likes of Sailors record signing Diego Lopes and ex-Standard Liege man Maxime Lestienne.
Having already shipped 16 goals with only a solitary clean sheet earned in the latest fixture against Balestier Khalsa, the Geylang International rearguard will have to be far tighter than they did in the earlier away game against the Bishan outfit.
But as their recent 2-0 friendly defeat to Johor Darul Ta'zim 'C' team shows, much work remains to be done on the training ground to plug their leaky backline.
With the Eagles struggling to keep the ball out of their net, another night of trepidation and agony looks on the cards for their faithful fans, unless they spring a surprise or two on the three-time league champions.
Team news: Barring the absence of the injured Ahmad Syahir, Geylang International head coach Noor Ali has a fully fit squad to pick from for their battle against Lion City Sailors.
Player to watch: Joshua Pereira - Having forged a reputation of reliability in a solid campaign with Geylang International last year, the versatile defender has been culpable of making uncharacteristic mistakes at the back, some of which resulted in goals for the opponents. The timing could not have been more coincidental when the Eagles clocked their first clean sheet of the season in the absence of their captain, who was serving a one-match yellow card suspension. Noor has to make a big call on whether to tweak his backline in order to restore his skipper to the starting 11.