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Match Review: Naquiddin's Late Strike Frustrates Eagles in 2-2 Draw

Photo credit: Idi Bakhtiar

Geylang International did their pursuit for Asian qualification no favour on Saturday (July 15) after conceding a late equaliser against Tanjong Pagar United to settle for a 2-2 draw.

With six more matches to go till the end of the campaign, time is running out for the Eagles to erase a six-point deficit and pip Balestier Khalsa to fourth.

Entering the contest as slight favourites against an out-of-form Jaguars, the Eagles were stunned by their opponents' early goal in the 11th minute when Akram Azman headed in Azim Akbar's inch-perfect cross.

After enduring further pressure from Tanjong Pagar who could have doubled their lead on a couple of occasions, Geylang put themselves back in contention past the half-hour mark via a near-identical goal from Yushi Yamaya.

Having to shoulder a heavier responsibility to lead the Eagles' attack in the absence of Vincent Bezecourt, the former Yokohama Marinos man did what was expected of him as he helped his team establish a lead in the 59th minute by supplying a defence-splitting pass to his Japanese compatriot Takahiro Tezuka who coolly finished off the move.

As it seemed Geylang were destined for a win with Rudy Khairullah repelling whatever shots that came his way, the visitors were forced to share the spoils with their hosts just as the match was entering into injury time.

The manner of dropping two points was gutting for the loyal travelling fans as the Eagles stand-in keeper punched an aerial ball straight to a lurking Naquiddin Eunos in the danger zone, which gave an opening for the Tanjong Pagar midfielder to hit a sublime strike that went beyond the reach of the outstretched custodian and bulged the top-left corner of the net.

Man of the match: Yushi Yamaya - The Japanese import recommended by City Football Group delivered what was expected of him in the absence of his French star by recording a goal and an assist in the four-goal stalemate.

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