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Match Review: Zuzul Fires Eagles to Landslide Win Over Tigers

Photo credit: Geylang International FC

Geylang International ace striker Sime Zuzul scored a brace at Our Tampines Hub on Sunday (August 21) as he helped his team dispatch Balestier Khalsa with a 3-0 victory.

Fans were also treated to a stoppage time goal by debutant Ariffin Noor which capped a convincing result for the Eagles.

The huge scoreline has not only returned Geylang International to their winning ways, but it also has moved the sixth-placed side to two points off the AFC Cup qualifying spot, currently held by third-ranked Tanjong Pagar United on 29 points.

The Eagles started the game brightly and had two good chances by Zuzul inside the first 12 minutes. His first effort was blocked by Tigers goalkeeper Hairul Syirhan while his second whizzed past the right of the goal frame.

As the first half wore on, sloppy play crept into the hosts' game, with underhit passes leading to needless losses of possession.

The visitors almost capitalised on one such mistake in the 17th minute when opposing midfielder Ryoya Taniguchi intercepted a pass from Joshua Pereira in the middle of the pitch and initiated a quick counter-attack.

To the relief of Pereira, the counter-attacking move came to naught when right winger Ignatius Ang could not put the ball past Zaiful Nizam.

Any nerves within the Geylang International camp were calmed when Zuzul coolly slotted a penalty in the 37th minute. It is the club's top goal scorer's sixth successful penalty kick from as many attempts this season.

With Albirex Niigata's last-minute equaliser in the previous fixture still fresh in the minds of the Eagles players, they were well aware that a slender lead could be easily wiped out by the opponents.

For this reason, the home team strategically controlled the pace of the game to their advantage and defended stoutly for much of the second half.

The result was beyond doubt when Zuzul doubled his account 11 minutes from time, courtesy of another Zuzul-Bezecourt combination.

The Croatian forward was the architect of the goal as he pounced on a loose ball from outside the box and squared it to the right to his French strike partner.

The one-two move was completed when Zuzul got to the end of Bezecourt's cross and headed beyond the reach of the Tigers custodian.

The former Balestier forward, who has grown into a crowd favourite for his goal exploits this campaign, raced to the home stand to celebrate with the cheering Ultras Eagles.

With the outcome a foregone conclusion, Geylang International head coach Noor Ali handed a debut to academy player Ariffin Noor during injury time.

The 21-year-old made the most of his brief appearance when he met fellow substitute Fareez Farhan's inswinging corner and bulleted the ball into an empty net.

Having secured three points from the first of back-to-back home matches, the mighty Eagles look to score another victory against developmental side Young Lions next weekend.

Man of the match: Sime Zuzul - The Croatian hotshot, who has extended his scoring streak to eight matches, is in the form of his life and looks unstoppable at the moment. His two-goal heroics at the Eagles Nest won him his third consecutive MoM.

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