|FROM BEDOK STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Geylang International walked away with maximum points from their game against Tanjong Pagar United after successfully carrying out a first-half comeback at the Bedok Stadium on Tuesday night.
First half goals from Yasir Hanapi and Jozef Kaplan settled a 2-1 win for the Eagles, after Kamel Ramdani first opened the scoring for Tanjong Pagar. The match concluded with an exciting finish, as Tanjong Pagar continued an assault against the Eagles defence up to the final whistle.
Although Geylang coach Vedhamuthu Kanan was delighted with the win, he felt that the goal they conceded could have been better defended.
“Before the game, I told the boys that Tanjong Pagar are set-piece specialists," he lamented.
"How he [Ramdani] could have scored from a blindside puzzles me.
“But the boys took it well. They worked hard and continued to make chances that led to us scoring two tonight."
Kanan did eventually express delight with the three points against an opponent that was on a five-game unbeaten run.
“Overall, I think it was an excellent performance against a good team like Tanjong Pagar," he said.
"They have quality foreigners and also experienced local players. We, on the other hand, have inexperienced players. Six of my players were playing their first S.League match tonight."
Skipper Kaplan, who scored the equalizer, also came in for praise, and Kanan also expects his side to offer more as the season progresses.
“He [Kaplan] is a good leader; he leads the team well, week in and week out," he remarked with a smile.
"He is a good role model and the young players look up to him. He is hardworking during training and inspires the team.
“I have said before that we will start slow, given our lack of experience. Now after 10 games, it is time for us to push to the next level. At the way the boys are playing, I can only expect better things to come!”
After rushing to the dressing room at the final whistle, Tanjong Pagar coach Patrick Vallee seemed to be in a hurry to leave, but he put aside his baggage to attend to the media before he did.
“We scored one today and we conceded two [and] I have to admit that the first goal was our very own mistake," he admitted.
"No one was marking Kaplan and he took upon that opportunity to score. Having said that, I don’t think we deserved a win tonight and I will have to analyze what happened.
“Everybody outside the club was only talking about our upcoming game with Tampines [Rovers] but I was telling my boys we have Geylang to play first. And see, today we lost.
“But that’s not the end of the world or S.League, we still have to move on and improve on our game. I’m not angry and I am not blaming my players. We will come back."
Geylang will next face the Courts Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium while Tanjong Pagar will host league leaders Tampines.