Faritz stars in Geylang's win
He makes one and scores the other as Eagles fly high
GARENA YOUNG LIONS 0
GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL 2
(Branko Cubrilo 14, Faritz Abdul Hameed 66)
His last and also first S.League goal was scored almost six years ago for the Young Lions against Home United.
Last night, in a match where the local forwards fluffed their lines, Geylang International's Faritz Abdul Hameed showed the way, crossing for Branko Cubrilo to knock in the opener after 14 minutes before sealing the 2-0 win over the Garena Young Lions in the 66th minute when he tapped in Gabriel Quak's tantalising cross.
With his wife due to give birth soon, the 26-year-old (right) instinctively celebrated by shoving the match ball under his jersey.
Clearly delighted, especially after playing as a right winger instead of the right back role he is known for, Faritz said: "I actually started out as a right midfielder, so this is not unfamiliar to me, although goalscoring probably is.
"Even as a right back, my job is to provide assists, but to score is really a bonus.
"Now that I have opened my account, I don't want to stop at just one. I missed a couple of chances, so I still need to practise more.
"I thought the team did well to create many chances and I need to thank Gabriel for the good ball that made it an easy tap-in for me."
The Eagles could have celebrated at least half a dozen goals in front of 2,416 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium, but their wastefulness was tempered by the fact that they continued their unbeaten run in the 2016 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.
Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani was relieved to get his first win out of the way after seeing his team squander the lead in draws against Tampines Rovers (3-3) and Brunei DPMM FC (1-1).
"The win is more important than the margin. We can score more, but we will also get better with training," said the 40-year-old, who is enjoying his debut season as head coach of an S.League club.
Despite the good results and a strong squad which afforded him a bench that contained five players with international experience, Hasrin refused to indulge in early title talk. Instead, he was more keen to talk about dressing-room harmony.
"I have to keep 23 good players happy and motivated, it's a good headache," he said.
"People say don't change a winning team, but, who knows, we may have to.
"No coach will be unhappy with an unbeaten run, but it is more important to show how we react when the chips are down, whether we can bounce back from dropping points."
The Young Lions have other concerns after suffering back-to-back defeats with a 7-0 aggregate, following the 5-0 loss to Albirex Niigata last week.
They struggled to create chances when Adam Swandi was initially deployed on the left wing. Their best chances fell to Shafeeq Faruk who shot just wide of the post in the 52nd minute.
Firdaus Kasman also went close when he stung Syazwan Buhari's palms from 25 metres in the 73rd minute.
Young Lions coach Patrick Hesse pointed to the gulf in experience - his side's average age is 20.6, a full 10 years younger than Geylang's - and reiterated the Under-21s' main objective this season is development.
The 58-year-old said: "We must defend better and not concede so early. We cannot let our heads down, we must continue to work hard and you can see in training that the players want to improve and work hard."
- TNP Man of the Match: Faritz Abdul Hameed (Geylang International)
- Tampines Rovers v Hougang United
- Balestier Khalsa v Albirex Niigata
- Brunei DPMM v Warriors
- GARENA YOUNG LIONS: Zharfan Rohaizad, Rusyaidi salime, Ammirul Emmran Mazlan, Taufiq Muqminin, Zakir shamsudin (Gareth Low 58), Fareez Farhan (Ryan syaffiq 77), Firdaus Kasman, Hami syahin, Muhelmy suhaimi, Adam swandi, shafeeq Faruk (Zulqarnaen suzliman 63)
- GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL: syazwan Buhari, Al-Qaasimy Abdul Rahman, Daniel Bennett, Yuki Ichikawa, safirul sulaiman, Faritz Abdul Hameed, Nor Azli Yusoff (Isa Halim 80), Carlos Delgado, Taufiq Ghani (Gabriel Quak 52), stanely Ng, Branko Cubrilo (sahil suhaimi 77).