Warriors FC broke through for their first success of the Great Eastern-YEO’S S.League season with a 3-0 win at Bedok Stadium against an unlucky Geylang International.
Three unanswered second-half goals propelled the struggling visiting team to the three points on Saturday night, after only picking up one from two games prior to this.
Geylang coach Vedhamuthu Kanan was absent after being taken ill earlier in the day, with assistant Mohd Noor Ali tasked to take over at short notice.
The home team was also still missing key midfielder Stefan Milojevic and had two others suspended, namely Jalal and Taufiq Ghani, while Amy Recha had begun his National Service and Shah Hirul was unfit to play.
The Warriors made one significant change as they brought in goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at, since regular first-choice Hassan Sunny became a father for the second time earlier in the day.
The game may well have turned on a crucial save right at the end of the first half as Geylang captain Jozef Kaplan tried a speculative shot from 25 yards that had ‘goal’ written all over it, only for Hyrulnizam to tip the ball brilliantly over the bar.
Although the Warriors had enjoyed as much of the game as their opponents, they had barely threatened to that stage.
But Geylang had failed to impose themselves either, missing some worthwhile chances.
That all changed seven minutes after the break.
Shi Jia Yi played a long ball through the centre from deep that found Mislav Karoglan and the Croatian hit-man did the rest. From 25 yards out, he found enough space to drill a low shot past a helpless Takuma Ito in the Geylang goal.
With their tails up, the Warriors extended their lead in the 61st minute.
Tatsuro Inui made a smart move from the right and even though he was crowded for room, the Japanese winger managed to switch the ball to his favoured left foot to strike a low shot that Ito was unable to hold, the ball spilling from his grasp and over the line.
To cap a big performance, Shimpei Sakurada got the third with a firm header after an Inui corner had seen the ball roll off the crossbar, with Erwan Gunawan getting in an initial header before the ball sat up nicely for Sakurada to nod home the final nail in the home side’s coffin.