GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL 2
Jozef Kaplan 43′, 77′ pen
HOUGANG UNITED 1
Jerome Baker 59′
It was a game which both sides needed to avoid defeat to advance to the knockout rounds, however, the Cheetahs rued the chance to repeat their 2011 heroics after falling to a 2-1 defeat to Geylang International at Bedok Stadium on Tuesday.
A score draw would mean both teams would advance, leaving Albirex Niigata playing the Plate competition, after the Japanese side failed to score in both of their group stage games against the Eagles and the Cheetahs.
The game started out in a sombre mood, as both teams were cautious in their play, however sloppy passes from Hougang almost allowed Jozef Kaplan to beat Fadhil Salim in a one-on-one situation, but the Eagles captain shot high.
However, another sloppy defending allowed the Slovakian to open the scoring account for the home side on 43 minutes, at close range.
The score remains 1-0 to the Eagles at half time. The Cheetahs came back for the second half as a different side as they pressed for that elusive equalizer.
The Cheetahs finally found the equalizer on 59 minutes. Jerome Baker getting clear of his marker to slot the ball past Takuma Ito to put the Cheetahs’ League Cup dreams back.
However, the Eagles managed to salvage back the situation towards their favour. The referee saw a hand ball at the Hougang penalty box. Jozef Kaplan managed to convert the penalty past Fadhil Salim to put Geylang one foot into the knockout stages.
The Cheetahs then threw everything in, including Liam Shotton’s aerial presence in search of the second equalizer. Even Fadhil Salim’s presence on one of the final corner kicks failed to get the Cheetahs any balls into the net.
Hougang ended the game with 10 men, after Shahir Hamzah was sent off in a messy situation.
The defeat condemns the Cheetahs to the Plate competition, where they will meet Harimau Muda on 17 June at Jalan Besar Stadium for the Plate Semi-finals.
Fadhil Salim, Shahir Hamzah (sent off 90′), Syaqir Sulaiman, Faizal Amir, Lau Meng Meng, Thomas Beattie (Liam Shotton 85′), Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar, Nurhilmi Jasni, Mamadou Diallo, Jerome Baker
Takuma Ito, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Norihiro Kawakami, Khairulnizam Jumahat, Jozef Kaplan, Fabian Kwok, Nurhazwan Norasikin (Andrew Tan 63′), Taufiq Ghani (Shotaro Ihata 65′), Yasir Hanapi, Jalal, Wahyudi Wahid