Courtesy of the S-League’s Shawn Lim.
Tampines Rovers returned to winning ways after defeating Geylang International 1-0 in the second Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League Eastern Derby of the season on Thursday night at Bedok Stadium.
A solitary goal from Yasir Hanapi, who also scored in the first meeting between both sides in February, was enough for the Stags to claim maximum points after their 1-0 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) last week.
The result left the Stags tied with the White Swans on 17 points in second place, while the Eagles continued their winless run.
Chances were at a premium in the opening minutes of the game as both sides struggled to wrestle control of the game, committing fouls all over the pitch.
The first real chance of the game fell to the Stags only in the 18th minute when Jordan Webb spotted Jermaine Pennant unmarked on the right flank and sprayed a cross-field pass to the latter.
The Englishman then returned the favour, finding Webb with an inch-perfect cross into the 18-yard box, but the Canadian sent his header agonisingly wide of the near post.
Tampines then took the lead with their second chance of the game six minutes later when Yasir stabbed the ball home from close range after a marvellous cross by Pennant.
Webb subsequently had a glorious opportunity to double the visitors’ lead in first-half stoppage time after brilliantly keeping a long ball out of defence in play on the right flank and easily giving Al-Qaasimy Rahman the slip as he drove towards goal.
However, the 27-year-old could only shoot straight at Geylang custodian Syazwan Buhari from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The second period begin in similar fashion as the first, with both sides were unable to put together anything of note to create goalscoring opportunities.
The hosts could have pulled level in the 58th minute when they were awarded a free-kick, but Safirul Sulaiman drew a comfortable save from Tampines custodian Izwan Mahbud with his attempt.
Yasir should have increased his side’s lead, as well as his goal tally, seven minutes after the hour mark when Pennant’s delightful cross from the right found him unmarked in the 18-yard box, but the former’s header at goal was weak and easily gathered by Syazwan.
Pennant then lined up a free-kick on the edge of the box in the 74th minute, but could only send his effort into the Geylang wall and the ball was deflected out for a corner.
A quickly taken free-kick from substitute Gabriel Quak on the left flank in the 79th minute found Shawal Anuar, but the latter was unable to escape the close attentions of Yasir and headed the ball just over the crossbar.
The woodwork came to the Eagles’ rescue in the 86th minute when another one of Pennant’s dangerous free-kick crashed off the frame of the goalpost.
Geylang had a final chance to restore parity in stoppage time when Delgado launched a ferocious piledriver at goal from 20-yards but Izwan recovered in time to hold on to the ball after spilling his initial catch.
Geylang International coach Hasrin Jailani: “I felt Tampines goal was offside from my point of view and we should have gotten a penalty in the end as well.
“We played well in the second-half with two strikers upfront because we were chasing the game and Tampines were not creating any chances to score.”
Tampines Rovers coach V.Sundramoorthy: “I think we were great in the first-half moving the ball around well, scored a goal and the boys played with confidence.
“In the second-half, we were ok, but the last few minutes we should killed the game off on the counter as the opponent were pushing us really hard.”
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Yuki Ichikawa, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Shariff Samad 89′), Isa Halim (C) (Gabriel Quak 52′), Safirul Sulaiman, Carlos Delgado, Shawal Anuar, Amy Recha, Branko Cubrilo (Stanely Ng 70′)
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Noh Rahman, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Sujad, Yasir Hanapi, Izzdin Shafiq, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jermaine Pennant (Irwan Shah 90′), Jordan Webb (Ismadi Mukhtar 84′), Billy Mehmet