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  • September 18, 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Bedok Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: M. Taqi

El-Masri strike hands Young Lions second league win

El-Masri strike hands Young Lions second league win

Sam Chow

The Canadian's header near the hour mark was sufficient to help his team notch victory and the margin could have been wider if not for goalkeeper Takuma Ito's heroics

The Courts Young Lions collected only their second win of the season when they overcame a sluggish Geylang International 1-0 at Bedok Stadium on Wednesday night.

Little was at stake, though clearly the visitors were keen to show that one win was not the full extent of their season’s achievement, having failed to make a breakthrough until a recent upset over Tanjong Pagar United.

All it took for the Young Lions to seal the points was a well-taken goal by deep-lying forward Sherif El-Masri, who climbed highest to meet Shamil Sharif’s freekick, which had caused almighty confusion among the Geylang defensive ranks.

The 58th minute strike was the result of a perfectly flighted cross that Geylang goalkeeper Takuma Ito could not reach and which the defenders in front of him failed to read.

El-Masri, who had not scored for some time, took his chance well and his team might have won by a bigger margin had Ito not been in superb form.

Early on, Geylang looked the more likely to score but skipper Jozef Kaplan faded after a promising start that had seen his looping header go just over the crossbar. That was followed by a shot from the left after a fast move down the flank, which resulted in a defensive deflection that produced no more than an unproductive corner.

The second-half was much livelier than the first. The Eagles threw on Andrew Tan at half-time in place of Duncan Elias, as well as sending on rookie Faud Ramli in place of the misfiring Shotaro Ihata around the hour mark.

But a later change, with Prime League boy Asshidiq Wahid coming on for defender Delwinder Singh, looked a more useful move - one that might have had a better effect had it come earlier.

Asshidiq saw his close range shot brilliantly saved by Syazwan Buhari in the Young Lions goal in the 83rd minute and looked a threat from the moment he came on the field.

But it was the Young Lions’ day as Nur Rido, another youngster to show a turn of foot, shone brightly, as Ito kept out his 62nd minute effort after the Geylang defence failed to deal with the winger, a menacing presence on the left flank for much of the game.

In the end, it was a second win for the Young Lions and on the evidence of this, another won’t be too far away either.