Geylang, Albirex eye rebound
Despite straight defeats, both coaches express positive feelings
GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL v ALBIREX NIIGATA
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, Bedok Stadium)
It shaped up as the perfect platform for Geylang International to build on ahead of the restart of their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League campaign.
A string of strong displays in The New Paper (TNP) League Cup saw them finish top of a group also consisting of Hougang United, Brunei DPMM and Singapore Recreation Club, before they were ultimately eliminated by eventual champions Albirex Niigata in the semi-finals.
But since then, the Eagles have not exactly marched on from their impressive cup run, and are on the back of a two-game losing streak in the league following defeats by Harimau Muda and Tampines Rovers.
To their credit, there were several positives in both losses, especially the endeavour they displayed despite going down to the Stags on Wednesday.
Another tough test awaits them against Albirex at Bedok Stadium tomorrow, but Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner is confident they will soon turn the corner.
"We may have lost our last two matches but, based on the football we played and the character we showed, I believe it's a matter of time before the results will be in our favour," he told The New Paper.
"Ideally, you want to play well and get the three points and there are times you don't play as well but still win.
"But I think you also have to look at the football being played and even if the result is negative but the performance is good, then I think there's at least something we can work on.
"I said at the start of the season the league is extremely competitive this season, and the past few matches have shown you cannot assume the top teams will just turn up and beat the bottom teams."
While Geylang currently find themselves third from bottom in the 10-team competition, their three wins so far this season have come against Warriors FC, Tampines and Home United - the S.League's three traditional heavyweights.
Eagles goalkeeper Yazid Yasin, who has played in every season of the S.League since its inception in 1996, believes it is a sign that they should not fear any opposition.
The 36-year-old said: "We have proven that we are capable of beating any team on our day and that includes Albirex.
"The most frustrating point is our inconsistency and, if we can get that sorted out, we'll find ourselves in a better position in the table.
"There's still a long way to go in the season, but it's important for us to pick up points in order not to fall further behind the rest of the pack."
Like Geylang, Albirex have also struggled for form since winning the League Cup and enter tomorrow's game on the back of successive 1-0 losses to Balestier and Harimau Muda.
Fortunately for them, the fact that Warriors and DPMM have also dropped points means they remain second on the table and just two points off the pace.
Nonetheless, White Swans coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama insists he is not worried about where they stand on the table and is focused only on arresting their current slump.
"I think we are suffering a little after winning the League Cup," he admitted.
"The problem at the moment is our mentality and it's something we have to improve.
"We don't want to think about the other clubs and the results they are getting… we just need to focus on ourselves.
"The most important thing now is for us to win our games."
"The problem at the moment is our mentality and it’s something we have to improve. We don’t want to think about the other clubs and the results they are getting… we just need to focus on ourselves."
- Albirex coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama
"We may have lost our last two matches but, based on the football we played and the character we showed, I believe it’s a matter of time before the results will be in our favour."
- Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner