Kaplan, Kwok strike to down Harimau Muda

Harimau Muda fell short against Geylang International for the second time in the 2013 Great Eastern-YEO's S.League season after falling to a 1-0 loss at the Bedok Stadium.

Kaplan showing a good turn of pace!
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

Following a goalless first half at the Bedok Stadium that was largely dominated by the visitors, it was Geylang who broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when captain Jozef Kaplan scored, before Fabian Kwok wrapped up the three points when he drilled home a second from just inside the area.

But unlike the 4-1 hammering they were handed at the Pasir Gudang Corporation Stadium back in March, Harimau Muda actually offered plenty of resistance and should have at least got on the scoresheet in the opening 45.

In fact, they could - and perhaps should - have entered the break in the lead given the number of opportunities they had in the first half; the first coming as early as the fourth minute when Akmal Ishak found himself free inside the box after Khayrulhayat Jumat had misjudged a long ball, only for him to blaze way over.

A minute before the half-hour mark, it was Maxsius Musa's turn to threaten the opposition goal when he broke free down the right but Joey Sim did well narrow the angle, forcing him to lift his shot just wide of the far post.

Five minutes later, another good chance went begging when Faizat Ghazli blasted a shot over from 15 yards after indecisive defending from the hosts allowed Akmal to thread a pass through to him, before Maxsius met a floated ball by Azzizan Nordin at the far post with a firm header that was slightly off target in the 40th minute.

Clearly unhappy with the way his side were being outplayed by their younger opponents, Eagles coach V. Kanan brought on Andrew Tan for youngster Safwan Rahim at the break, and the introduction of the Singapore international certainly gave the hosts more penetration in the attacking third.

Looking a different side to the one that was dominated before halftime, Geylang were unlucky not to take the lead a minute after the hour mark when Jalal's corner was nodded back across the face of goal by Kaplan, only for Shotaro Ihata to send a bullet header back off the post.

But nine minutes later, they managed to find the breakthrough after Tan found space down the left and played in an excellent cross to Kaplan, who expertly brought the ball down before slotting it past Ramdhan Hamid and into the bottom corner.

Kaplan nearly grabbed a second in the 80th minute when he broke free of his marker's clutches and raced through, but this time Ramdhan raced off his line promptly and did enough to deny the Slovakian.

Five minutes later, the Harimau Muda keeper did well again to deny the opposition a clear-cut chance by cutting out a dangerous cross by Tan at the near post, but there was little he could do in the second minute of injury-time as Geylang wrapped up the three points.

As he has been all season long, Kaplan was once again involved as he held up the ball well inside the area before laying it back into the path of Kwok, who drilled a fierce strike into the bottom corner to cap off a fine second-half display by the Eagles.

In Wednesday's other game, an deflected strike by Moon Soon-ho in injury-time handed Woodlands Wellington a 1-0 win over Hougang United at the Hougang Stadium.

Geylang International: Joey Sim, Khairulnizam Jumahat, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Norihiro Kawakami, Jalal, Yasir Hanapi (Basil Teo 76'), Fabian Kwok, Taufiq Ghani (Shotaro Ihata 60'), Safwan Rahim (Andrew Tan 46'), Wahyudi Wahid, Jozef Kaplan.

Harimau Muda: Ramdhan Hamid, Ashmawi Yakin, Nashriq Yahya, Osman Yusoff, Asri Mardzuki, Nur Areff Kamaruddin, Azzizan Nordin (S. Vikneswaran 79'), Maxsius Musa, Faizat Ghazli (Farizzuan Azhar 83'), Iskandar Hanapiah, Akmal Ishak (Akhir Bahari 66').

Attendance: 588

Image courtesy of VOXSPORTS (Cassandra M Tan)

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