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Match Review: Eagles Surrender Two-Goal Lead in Draw with Young Lions

Photo credit: Idi Bakhtiar

The champagne to celebrate Geylang International's elusive Singapore Premier League victory was put on ice after Young Lions scored an injury-time goal to equalise 2-2 at Our Tampines Hub on Tuesday night (June 21).

Leading by two goals with 10 minutes remaining, many in the Eagles camp and among the home supporters thought that a win was a foregone conclusion, ending the club's 10-game winless spell.

But the celebratory mood was put to a premature end when the visiting team scored two late goals via Danish Qayyum and Syed Muhamad Akmal.

Ahead of this clash, Geylang International head coach Noor Ali was under immense pressure to improve the team's results and vowed a "one game-changing win".

The club legend heaved a huge sigh of relief when the Eagles put their noses in front through a Takahiro Tezuka free kick in the 17th minute.

Vincent Bezecourt almost gave the hosts a two-goal cushion before the half-time break. Having the ball knocked into his path by Šime Žužul, the 29-year-old Frenchman had a clear sight on goal, but his shot was blocked by Young Lions custodian Ridhwan Fikri.

The former New York Red Bulls midfielder made amends for that miss for initiating an attack that led to Geylang International's second goal right after the restart.

He knocked the ball down the right channel for Šime Žužul, who found his strike partner Hazzuwan Halim in the penalty box with a one-touch cross.

The ball was then swept into goal by an unmarked Hazzuwan with aplomb. What a way to introduce himself after coming on as a substitute at half time!

The men in green immediately scoured for their third goal to put some distance between themselves and the away side.

Successive chances were created by Bezecourt, Tezuka and his Japanese compatriot Rio Sakuma in the next 15 minutes. But those efforts were either thwarted by Ridhwan's outstanding saves or cleared on the goal line by the Young Lions defenders.

With the Eagles struggling to kill off the contest, Young Lions were slowly confident of nicking at least a point from this game.

Geylang International's worst fears were realised when Zaiful Nizam was twice beaten at his near post in the closing stages of the match.

The former giants' slipping of their two-goal advantage raised the pressure on Noor and his charges by another notch, as they continue their search for that overdue victory.

Man of the match: Hazzuwan Halim - The 28-year-old Singaporean striker came on as a half-time substitute and made an immediate impact with a goal. His lively performance upfield constantly put the opposition defence under pressure and regained possession of the ball in the process. He must have felt let down by the team's inability to defend their lead.

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