Gombak coach K. Balagumaran noted that upcoming youngsters need games to progress, while Geylang coach V. Kanan admitted his nerves at his side's 3-2 victory over the Bulls.
By Teng Kiat
Having trailed 3-0 after 48 minutes, Gombak United produced a stirring comeback with two goals in the last 25 minutes, although that was not enough to prevent losing 3-2 in their match against Geylang United on Wednesday night.
Despite the loss, Bulls coach K. Balagumaran preferred to look at the “positive” aspects of his charges’ performance and refused to single any individual out for the goals.
“We had two first starters [Rudy Khairullah and Shazwan Sidek].. credit must go to them [the team], we still fought back,” pointed out Balagumaran.
“We conceded two early goals, [but even then] I felt that in the first half, we were dominating them.
“They scored two from [defensive] lapses… [but] anyway, they came back and they reacted to our instructions.”
The Bulls endured a punishing schedule of one league match against Harimau Muda and a two-legged Singapore Cup semi-final against SAFFC in addition to this match, with only three days’ rest in between each fixture and Balagumaran claimed tiredness got to his players.
“The players are now feeling lethargic… Our players are not all full-time; some of them are [still] schoolboys,” said Balagumaran.
“After training, they go back [to] sleep, study, [and] wake up [for school the next day] - they don’t really rest. So this is how our league is; the competition department [has] got to look into this.”
However, he is still pleased to see youngsters at the club stepping up to the plate this season, saying: “It is quite positive. We see players coming up the ranks; for young players [like Iqbal Hussain], these are the games they [can] get to play, [in order] to get to the next level.”
Meanwhile, Geylang coach Vedhamuthu Kanan admitted that he was “very nervous” during the dying minutes of the match, after Gombak’s second goal six minutes from time.
“It [the game] was comfortable, you know, [with a ] 3-0 lead,” said Kanan. “Then they got the first goal [due to] some mix-up in the defence, then they got the second one…they had all the confidence - suddenly, they had nothing to lose.”
Kanan blamed poor defending for the two goals, while also singling out goalkeeper Yazid Yasin, who made a few crucial saves, for being “on form”.
With only three more games to go until the end of the season, Kanan has set his sights on overtaking 11th-placed Tanjong Pagar United, who are two points ahead of the Eagles.
“We are now [on] 17 points, two points away from Tanjong Pagar, [so] our next target is them,” said Kanan.
“We [have] got Albirex [Niigata] and Harimau [Muda] to play still, [so] we need to work [hard during the] next few days.”