The Geylang midfielder gave his side a 3-0 lead before two goals in the final 25 minutes from Gombak set up a nervy ending for the home side, who held on for a second win in a row
By Teng Kiat
If Gombak United were irked by the sight of Geylang United’s Jozef Kaplan two weeks ago, they must be positively sick of him after Wednesday night.
The Slovakian midfielder had scored the only goal of the game on September 27 against the Bulls before it was called off due to heavy rain, and he struck again with a hat-trick in the rescheduled game to lead his side to a 3-2 victory.
It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game, when French forward Julien Durand forced Geylang goalkeeper Yazid Yasin into a save as he got his head to a Mustaqim Manzur freekick.
At the other end, Gombak custodian Rudy Khairullah was forced into action to smother a low shot from Stefan Milojevic.
The striker’s next contribution would prove to be decisive, however.
Latching onto a ball outside the box, Milojevic backheeled a lovely reverse pass into the path of the overlapping Kaplan to smash into the top corner and give the Eagles the lead in the 19th minute.
The Bulls tried to hit back, with Yazid being forced to tip a header over, but they soon fell further behind in the 29th minute.
A blocked shot in the box fell to Kaplan, who needed no invitation to sidefoot the loose ball into the bottom corner for his second of the night.
Gombak were finding the compact Geylang defence hard to break down and apart from an overhead kick from Durand which sailed well over the bar, they failed to trouble the home side further in the first half.
Kaplan completed his hat-trick just three minutes after the restart, pouncing onto the rebound after his initial shot had been blocked to easily slide the ball into the empty goal for his 16th goal of the season.
The away side started to show more verve going forward as the second half wore on, as Yazid palmed away a 25-yard freekick from Hafiz Rahim before Jung Hee Bong dragged a snapshot wide minutes later.
They did pull a goal back in the 65th minute when Hafiz stole in from the right to lash a crisp half-volley beyond Yazid and into the bottom far corner.
The former national goalkeeper then came to his side’s rescue with a superb double-save, first getting down smartly to block Durand’s shot before denying Christopher Anderson’s follow-up effort from the rebound.
The Geylang skipper could do nothing about Gombak’s second goal in the 84th minute though, as substitute Iqbal Hussain sneaked in at the near post to tap home a cross and give his side hope.
Jung nearly snatched a dramatic late equalizer as he forced Yazid into a another stunning save with his volley, before Mustaqim Manzur smashed a 25-yard freekick inches over the bar.
The spirited comeback was too late though, as Kaplan’s treble proved enough to secure all three points for Geylang in the end.