Nenad Bacina’s defending champions ran riot on the opening day of the 2013 S.League season with a big win over a new Geylang International team
The visitors stormed into the game and emerged 5-0 winners, thanks to goals from Sead Hadzibulic, Shaiful Esah, Firdaus Kasman, Jamil Ali and Khairul Amri.
Both teams took their time to settle into the game, with the first real chance coming in the 9th minute via a Shaiful freekick. The Tampines left-back’s pinpoint cross was met by Hadzibulic’s head to draw first blood.
Suddenly, the Eagles were brought to life and they almost conjured an instant reply. A minute after conceding, Geylang captain Jozef Kaplan’s shot from outside the box was palmed away by Sasa Dreven.
However, the Stags were solid at the back for the most of the first half, not allowing Vedhamuthu Kanan’s men any chance whatsoever. Pressing the home side hard, they deservedly doubled their lead in the 22nd minute.
Shaiful’s set-piece prowess came to the fore, as his thunderous free kick from 40 yards out proved too powerful for Geylang goalkeeper Takuma Ito.
The Eagles’ poor passing cost them again a minute before the break. Jamil Ali exchanged quick passes with Shahdan Sulaiman in the box before his through ball found an unmarked Firdaus Kasman, who had time and space to volley home the visitors’ third.
The Eagles flew into the second half with renewed spirit, after what must have been a lashing from Kanan.
Yasir Hanapi, Shotaro Ihata and Kaplan led the way for Geylang as they charged at the Tampines goal, with the Slovakian midfielder coming closest in the 55th minute when he met Ihata’s cross, only to put the ball over the bar.
The hosts kept pressing, but their shots were either blocked or off-target.
Tampines, who were quieter in the second period, then punished the home side in the 62nd minute. Jamil was put through by a lovely Hadzibulic pass and the 30-year-old midfielder chipped the ball sweetly over the Ito to make it 4-0.
Bacina’s men hammered the nail into Geylang’s coffin eight minutes from time after stringing over ten passes to eventually find an unmarked Khairul Amri, who made no mistake from six yards out to round off an emphatic victory for Tampines.