Thursday, March 03, 2011


Young Lions v Geylang United

What a game!

Five goals, three reds, an imperious performance by Shafiq Ghani culminating in two goals, the second hotly contested by Geylang players who carried the protest on after the game, the on-looking Pele and Eric Cantona must have wondered why half the stadium was empty.

The Eagles must have got stuck in the traffic 'cos they never turned up first half. Young Lions went for the throat from the first with Shafiq creating the first goal with a run at the defence before Fazli Ayob finished with a plomb, beating Yazid Yazin's despairing dive.

On 18 minutes Shafiq scored his first with a well directed header and we sat back wondering how many they would score.

Geylang may have been stuck in traffic for much of the first half but they still managed to score right at the death and then repeated the feat in the early moments of the second half. Perhaps the Lions had been thinking about their half time Milo but theywere certainly caught napping, especially as Yasir's goal at the death came from pretty much the first time the Lions keeper had been troubled since padlocking his bike outside Mabel's coffess shop before the game.

Shafiq restored the Lions' lead with another header but Geylang players were convinced their keeper had scooped the ball clear before it had crossed the line. The assistant referee or whatever they're called now gave the goal and Geylang weren't happy.

The game ended in controversy with Geylang's Stanley Ng coming on as an 86th minute sub only to be red carded in he first minute of injury time before he had even had time to adjust his shoe pads.

It was all great fun for the watching 2,728, most of whom would have been here to watch the two old buggers in suits. But even they must have thought to themselves, dodgy defending and refereeing decisions aside, it was a great advertisement for the SLeague and Cantona's nomination of Shafiq Ghani was as expected as it was deserved.

There was a wonderful English-ness to the whole game. 100% commitment, full blooded tackles, controversy and the fans doing their best to spur on the players.

Read the newspapers and message boards in Singapore and you'll see people whining about how crap the football is in their country. This game, and last night's between Hougang United and Home United, disprove that baloney. On the field there ain't a whole lot wrong with the SLeague, it's people's perceptions and prejudices.

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