Match Review: Eagles Silence Critics with 3-1 Win over Wasps
Updated: Mar 20
After suffering two straight defeats without scoring a goal, Geylang International returned to winning ways in style as they resoundingly beat Brunei DPMM 3-1 on Sunday evening (March 19).
With the Eagles' toothless attack being put under intense scrutiny ahead of kick-off, striking duo Yushi Yamaya and Naufal Azman rose to the occasion to grab all three goals for the team.
Geylang International's third victory of the season is to be credited to head coach Noor Ali's formational change from a 4-5-1 to a 5-3-2 - one that he has used to great success over the years.
This new formation provided more stability at the back and added more attacking bite up front, which brought the best out of his players.
Ably supported by his teammates in the central areas, Vincent Bezecourt was one of the beneficiaries as he was able to stamp his mark on the game and orchestrate play from midfield.
As early as the 5th minute, the French midfield maestro wowed his travelling band of Ultras Eagles supporters with a perfectly executed defence-splitting pass from the centre circle to Naufal. The 1.75m winger-turned-forward then held off his marker before finishing with a right-footed strike.
Having gone 190 minutes without celebrating a goal, the away fans jumped in jubilation when Naufal's effort bulged the net.
With the Wasps not going down without a fight, the Eagles had Hafiz Ahmad's quick reflexes to thank for for preserving their half-time lead, as the shot-stopper pulled off stunning saves to deny Nazirrudin Haji Ismail and Azwan Ali Rahman.
Geylang International afforded themselves breathing space 10 minutes into the second half when Yamaya cooly converted a penalty after being brought down by a Brunei DPMM defender.
As the Eagles were cruising with a two-goal cushion, a sloppy pass from Joshua Pereira past the hour mark brought the Wasps back into the game.
The Geylang International captain carelessly surrendered possession by passing straight to his opposite number, Azwan. This mistake was proved to be a costly one as a threaded pass from Azwan was finished off by second-half substitute Azizi Ali Rahman.
Yamaya, who earlier ended his three-game goal drought, made the points safe for the Eagles shortly after when he was in the right place at the right time to slide in Naufal's cross.
The away success against the Bruneian club moved the Eagles up to third in the league table, signalling their ambition of qualifying for next season's AFC Cup.
Man of the match: Yushi Yamaya - A high-profile signing recommended by the City Football Group, the former Yokohama Marinos man struggled in the early days of his Geylang International career, with only one goal from the penalty spot to show for in the first five games. Shifting from his usual left-wing position to a more central striker role had done his performance against Brunei DPMM a whole world of good. Being closer to his teammates in the attacking third, Yamaya was able to feed off the services of fellow attackers Vincent Bezecourt and Naufal Azman and deliver the goals. The Eagles fans are excited to see what their Japanese import can do if he continues playing that centre-forward position.