Geylang keep it late
Eagles score at the end of both halves to retain hopes for a top-three finish
GEYLANG INT'L 2
(Mark Hartmann 45+1, Sahil Suhaimi 91)
BALESTIER KHALSA 1
(Niko Tokic 41-pen)
Geylang International left it late last night, needing goals right at the end of each half to beat Balestier Khalsa 2-1 in their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clash at the Bedok Stadium. Their winner also came in controversial circumstances.
After linesman Victor Teo appeared to incorrectly flag Tigers' striker Miroslav Kristic offside when he was through on goal - his teammate Zulkiffli Hassim was the one in an offside position - Geylang went straight up the other end to score through substitute Sahil Suhaimi.
A clearly irate Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic was at a loss to explain the late defeat.
"I saw it (the offside incident) very clearly, but I cannot tell you," he said, suggesting he was not willing to criticise the officials.
"I'm very disappointed. We had so many chances in the game and we should have finished them off."
Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani simply shrugged his shoulders and said: "Sometimes, when you put in the hard work, it pays off and the luck comes.
"In that (offside) case, you can say we were lucky but, for the three points, we deserved it."
The former national midfielder pointed to Mark Hartmann's equaliser in first half added time as the "turning point" of the game.
Geylang had dominated the opening 45 minutes, but could not carve out clear chances.
Balestier, meanwhile, saw attacking midfielder Jamil Ali's effort come off the crossbar in the 22nd minute.
And, in the 41st minute, they took the lead when Niko Tokic stroked home a penalty after Kristic was brought down in the box by Nor Azli Yusoff.
But Philippine striker Hartmann, returning from a knee injury, levelled the score with a free-kick which zipped through a sea of legs and went in off the upright.
The second half was a battle of attrition, but national striker Sahil had the final say with his late goal - only his third this season.
The win pushed Geylang up to fourth, just a point behind third-placed Brunei DPMM, albeit having played one game more.
Said Hasrin: "We left it very late, but our effort was there. The win is very important for us.
"Now we have a three-week break until our next S.League game, so this win helps keep us in the running for a top-three spot."
- GEYLANG: Syazwan Buhari, Faritz Hameed, Daniel Bennett, Yuki Ichikawa, Anders Aplin, Isa Halim, Nor Azli Yusoff (Sahil Suhaimi 46), Carlos Delgado, Gabriel Quak (Stanely Ng 60), Mark Hartmann (Shahfiq Ghani 77), Shawal Anuar.
- BALESTIER: Daniel Ong, Fadli Kamis, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Emir Lotinac, Ahmad Syahir, Jamil Ali (Zulkiffli Hassim 75), Ho Wai Loon (Shah Hirul 73), Syafiq Zainal (Fadhil Noh 60), Hazzuwan Halim, Miroslav Kristic, Niko Tokic.