By Gabriel Tan at the Jalan Besar Stadium
Fresh from bagging two goals for Malaysia whilst on international duty, Wan Zack Haikal opened the scoring two minutes before the break when he scored with a screamer from the edge of the area, but Geylang fought back in the second half and came close to scoring on several occasions.
However, the Young Tigers backline, with debuting goalkeeper Farhan Abu Bakar in particular, stood tall and repelled the hosts' attacks, before substitute D. Saarvindran sealed the win in the 81st minute when he unleashed a 35-yard effort into the bottom corner.
Having had the squad depleted through international call-ups in the last game against Hougang United, with just three fit players on the bench, Harimau coach Ong Kim Swee was boosted by the return of a number of stars and immediately reinstalled the likes of Wan Zack, Mahalli Jasuli and Fadhli Shas in his starting XI.
His Geylang counterpart V. Kanan named an unchanged lineup from the one that impressively held Albirex Niigata to a 0-0 draw last Thursday, and it certainly seemed to be working early on as they got off to a bright start.
In particular, Jozef Kaplan was looking very lively in the middle of the park and almost carved out the first opening of the game in the fifth minute when he looked to put Ang Zhiwei through down the right. Fortunately, for the visitors, Nazirul Naim was alert to the danger and weighed in with a vital interception.
However, Kanan's plans were then thrown into disarray in the 14th minute when left-back Salim Rahim had to come off after picking up a knock, and the Young Tigers immediately sought to target his replacement Mubarak Ahamad by getting the ball to Wan Zack at every opportunity.
Two minutes after coming on, Mubarak afforded the Malaysia international far too much space down the right, and he curled in an excellent cross that Thamil Arasu somehow managed to fire wide with only Yazid Yasin to beat.
The hosts immediately responded in the 20th minute when Michael King went on a terrific run down the middle before playing Kaplan through down the left. The Slovak advanced into the box but could only fire in a cross that was just beyond the reach of the unmarked Rizawan Abdullah.
Stunned at the fight their unfancied opponents were showing, Harimau immediately piled on the pressure and had two decent chances to open the scoring before the half-hour mark. First, Wan Zaharulnizam cut in from the left and fired in a shot that forced Yazid into a good save, before Ahmad Hazwan leapt high to meet a good cross from Nazirul but nodded just wide.
Wan Zack was beginning to get more involved in the game and was unlucky to fire just wide of the far post in the 33rd minute after he cleverly manoeuvred his past Syed Fadhil, although there was to be no denying him ten minutes later when he opened the scoring.
There appeared to be no apparent danger when the 21-year-old received the ball just outside the area but he got away from his marker with a clever spin, before unleashing a left-footed shot that sailed into the far corner.
Five minutes after the break, Wan Zack almost turned provider when he sprinted past Mubarak down the right and picked out Thamil in the box, only to see his team-mate fluff his shot wide from 15 yards out.
Despite Geylang's lack of possession, King was providing a good outlet down the left and carved an opening for his side in the 56th minute when he broke in behind the visitors' backline before forcing Farhan Abu Bakar into a good save at his near post. The ball made its way to Kaplan who must have thought he had equalised for the Eagles, only to see his follow-up effort bravely headed away by Syazwan Tajudin.
Two minutes later, King showed a nice piece of skill when he got past both Mahalli and Wan Zack with a quick shuffle but could only manage to fire his shot against the post, before he curled in a freekick that looked headed for the top corner until a timely intervention from the Harimau keeper.
11 minutes from time, King was once again left to rue his luck after seeing his fiercely-struck effort from 12 yards kept out by Farhan's outstretched left foot, after Nazirul had miscued a clearance straight into his path.
And two minutes later, Harimau sewed up all three points when substitute D. Saarvindran created a goal out of nothing, picking up the ball 35 yards out and unleashing a low drive that flew beyond Yazid's reach into the bottom corner.
The visitors had one final chance in the 89th minute to add the icing on the cake when Saarvindran released Thamil with a clever reverse pass, but Yazid dived down smartly to tip the 20-year-old's shot away and keep the scoreline respectable.
Geylang United: Yazid Yasin, Ishak Zainol, Syed Fadhil, Shahril Alias, Salim Rahim (Mubarak Ahamad 14'), Ang Zhiwei, Rhema Obed, Jozef Kaplan, Michael King, Mun Seung-man (Zul Elhan Fahmi 72'), Rizawan Abdullah (Amy Recha 65').
Harimau Muda: Farhan Abu Bakar, Mahalli Jasuli (Shahrul Saad 62'), Syazwan Tajudin, Fadhli Shas, Nazirul Naim, Wan Zaharulnizam (Syahrul Azwari 62'), Affize Faisal, Azzizan Nordin (D. Saarvindran 72'), Wan Zack Haikal, Thamil Arasu, Ahmad Hazwan.