Home, Geylang both out to stop the rot
Home and Geylang have flattered to deceive, but both teams aim to finish strongly
HOME UNITED v GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL
(Tonight, 8pm, Bishan Stadium)
Both teams got off to slow starts at the beginning of the season, but found their feet just before the mid-year international break and strung together a decent run of games.
Now, though, as the second round of the 2016 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League draws to a close, both Geylang International and Home United's title charge seems to have fizzled out as quickly as it began.
When the teams line up for their league clash at the Bishan Stadium tonight, members of the local football fraternity will be wondering where it all went wrong.
"If I knew, you wouldn't be asking me this," said Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani with a chuckle, before his team's training session at the Bedok Stadium.
"I cannot pinpoint an exact reason. I think there is more than one factor involved.
"This is our first season together as a team, my first season as a coach as well.
"Most of the teams have been together for at least a year, so it will take time for us to gel and play a certain style.
"After the international break as well, the players were a bit rusty. But you cannot use these as excuses so, as a coach, I will have to look at ways to change this."
Geylang and Home were touted as dark horses for the title before the start of the season, after raiding the now defunct LionsXII for star names like Gabriel Quak and Sahil Suhaimi (now with Geylang) and Faris Ramli, Khairul Nizam and Zulfahmi Arifin (Home United).
After a poor start, many thought that both teams had turned the corner after the Eagles won three games in succession while the Protectors chalked up 15 points from five matches, heading into the international break.
On the resumption of the S.League, both sides fared dismally again, losing three games each.
While Home are in third spot, they are a whopping 16 points behind league leaders Albirex Niigata and only four ahead of Geylang, who are sixth.
Hasrin, however, believes there is time for his charges to reverse their fortunes.
"We have to continue with what we have been doing this season, playing attacking football but, most importantly, putting the ball in the back of the net, which we have not done in recent games.
"I am confident that if we can get back our form, fourth, third or even second place is not far off," said the 40-year-old.
Home assistant coach Robin Chitrakar is also keen to end the league campaign on a high, starting against Geylang tonight.
"After analysing our recent performances, I think that defensive lapses and individual mistakes are what have cost us so far this season," said the former Singapore international.
"We are not satisfied with our performances and we will not give up until improvements are made.
"Our game against Geylang will be a case of two teams who are in a similar vein of form and also share similar playing philosophies.
"We are expecting a tough match, but we are aiming for a positive result that will give us confidence going into the final round of the season."
Our game against Geylang will be a case of two teams who are in a similar vein of form and also share similar playing philosophies.
— Home assistant coach Robin Chitrakar
GEYLANG: The Eagles won three games in succession heading into the international break.
HOME UNITED: The Protectors chalked up 15 points from five matches.
On the resumption of the S.League, both sides have fared dismally - losing three games each.