Matheus Moresche scores brace on debut for Geylang International
Still short on match fitness, but forward shines after replacing the injured Maguire
Geylang International attacker Matheus Moresche's goalscoring debut came as a pleasant surprise to his coach, after his brace helped the Eagles to a 2-1 win over Tanjong Pagar United at Our Tampines Hub yesterday.
The Brazilian's match-winning heroics is even more impressive given how his coach Noor Ali had no intention of playing him as the new signing is still short on match fitness.
However, after midfielder Barry Maguire pulled up clutching his hamstring during an Eagles' counter-attack, Noor Ali was forced to bring on Moresche in the 12th minute.
|GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL||TANJONG PAGAR UNITED|
|(Matheus Moresche 19, 74)||(Blake Ricciuto 21)|
It took the 22-year-old just seven minutes to make an impact, when he converted a penalty which he earned after he was brought down by Jaguars defender Delwinder Singh.
Tanjong Pagar, who were aggressive and posed an attacking threat from set-pieces, pulled one goal back just two minutes later, when midfielder Blake Ricciuto nodded in Shahrin Saberin's looping cross at the near post, after the Eagles failed to deal with the initial free-kick from Rusyaidi Salime.
But, with the game seemingly headed for a draw, Moresche showed composure and quick feet to control a pass from Amy Recha before rifling his shot past Jaguars goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar.
"For an attacker who isn't match-fit and finishes with two goals from the bench, it definitely was a positive start," Noor Ali told The New Paper.
"I wasn't planning on using Moresche today, maybe the last 20 minutes if I really had to. You can see that he was tiring in the last 10 minutes, so there is still a lot of work (to be done) before he is fully ready."
Noor Ali added that they knew Tanjong Pagar would threaten from set-pieces with six, seven players who can dominate aerially and Rusyaidi being able to deliver good balls.
"But we defended brilliantly, though there was miscommunication for the goal we conceded," he added.
While Tanjong Pagar coach Hasrin Jailani agreed his side did pose a huge threat from set-pieces, he believes that it is just one of the "weapons in their arsenal".
"It was a close game and we have to look at it positively," the 45-year-old said.
"We have to trust the processes and, over time, we will see our attack become our best asset. It is only our first game and (Khairul) Amri, (Luiz) Junior, Reo (Nishiguchi) and Blake did a good job today."
Moresche's double was one of five recorded over the opening weekend, after Gabriel Quak (Lion City Sailors), Yasir Hanapi (Tampines Rovers), Kiyoshiro Tsuboi (Albirex Niigata) and Shuhei Hoshino (Balestier Khalsa) also hit braces across the four matches played.
Hoshino's double helped his side draw 3-3 with the Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium, where Philippe Aw's young charges clawed their way back from 3-1 down to earn a point.