Geylang International posted their biggest league victory this season as they crushed Tanjong Pagar United 5-0 at the Jurong East Stadium on Saturday (July 30).
The in-form side leapfrogged Tampines Rovers to fifth, as their eastern rivals lost to fourth-placed Hougang United in a match that was simultaneously played.
With the AFC Cup qualifying spot - currently held by the third-ranked Jaguars - up for grabs, the respective victories have blown the race for qualification wide open, as the Eagles and Cheetahs found themselves six and five points from the berth, respectively.
Geylang International who turned around their season remarkably with an extended unbeaten run, showed their intent of catching up for lost time by making a flying start to the match.
Vincent Bezecourt carried on his masterclass performance against Hougang United by opening the account in the 2nd minute. The Frenchman received the ball from Sime Zuzul and curled it beyond the reach of the Tanjong Pagar United keeper, Zharfan Rohaizad.
The Eagles, who were relentless in pressing their opponents, then raced to a three-goal lead inside 25 minutes, with Bezecourt having a hand on both goals.
In the 22nd minute, Bezecourt powered a shot from range which came off the opposing keeper and then the upright. With the loose ball bouncing along the goal line, Takahiro Tezuka was quick to bullet the ball into the net.
Two minutes later, Bezecourt returned Zuzul a favour for the earlier assist by turning provider. The set-piece specialist whipped in a free kick from the right which was headed in by the 1.89m Croatian. The headed goal brought the latter's season tally to double-digit figure.
The double act of Bezecourt and Zuzul continued in the second half with both combining for Geylang International's fourth goal in the 56th minute.
Bezecourt launched a forward pass towards Zuzul, who was racing down the right flank. The midfield maestro then arrived outside the penalty box to receive the ball from his strike partner.
A couple of touches were taken by the Frenchman before he angled the ball past Zharfan.
Zharfan's net was bulged for the fifth and final time in the 67th minute when former Eagles Faritz Hameed diverted the ball from a Tezuka corner into his own goal.
Having downed their two rivals for the AFC Cup spot - Hougang United and Tanjong Pagar United - in back-to-back games, Geylang International hope to make three in a row in their forthcoming derby against Tampines Rovers.
Man of the match: Vincent Bezecourt - The recent break given to the 29-year-old has done him a world of good. The attacking midfielder followed up his match-winning performance against Hougang United with a brace and two assists against Tanjong Pagar United. Fans are delighted to finally see the former New York Red Bulls player live up to his billing.