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Match Review: Soaring Eagles Down Wasps with Two Strikes

Photo credit: Football Association of Singapore

After 38 days away from home, the boisterous Ultras Eagles were glad to be back at Our Tampines Hub on Wednesday night (June 28) as they bounced and chanted on the stand while watching their beloved Geylang International defeat Brunei DPMM 2-0.

The midweek victory saw the two-time league champions leapfrog Balestier Khalsa to fourth, which is a potential final berth for AFC Cup qualification.

But the hosts' third clean sheet of the season flattered the Eagles backline as the defenders were caught napping at times, only to be let off by the Wasps' poor finishing and some outstanding saves from Hafiz Ahmad.

On the other end of the pitch, the Eagles attackers, spearheaded by Iqbal Hussain, were lively and put their opponents on the backfoot from the first whistle.

Their positive play paid off near the half-hour mark when Vincent Bezecourt found the breakthrough for the home side. After surging up the field and playing the ball wide to Iqbal, the French maestro was quick in receiving the return ball and lashed a one-touch shot into the net.

The cheering Geylang fans were then treated to the coolest of finishes from Iqbal five minutes into the second half. Picking up Yushi Yamaya's pinpoint cross at the far post, the mercurial forward nonchalantly brought the ball under close control with touches to his chest and right foot, before bundling it into the open goal with his left foot.

Having seen a penalty call overturned by the video assistant referee moments before, a great chance fell to the Eagles to treble their lead via a penalty just before the hour mark. But to everyone's surprise, Yamaya who did not miss a beat on his earlier two spot kicks this year, saw his third save by opposing custodian Kristijan Naumovski.

Geylang's own goalie Hafiz whose shaky performance this campaign was the talk of the town, defied expectations and went one better than the North Macedonia international, when he pulled off probably the save of the season by going full stretch with his right palm to deny Hakeme Yazid from 12 yards.

With Brunei laying siege on goal late in the game, the home team went into their shell and deployed time-wasting tactics to see out their two-goal winning margin.

Man of the match: Iqbal Hussain - The lanky forward led the frontline well by fashioning chances of his own with his nifty footwork as well as bringing his other attacking teammates into dangerous positions. His confidence in his ability is sky high at the moment, as epitomised by his cool finishing in the second half.

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