Geylang angry after late Hougang fight-back
Eagles coach blasts referee after Cheetahs' injury-time equaliser
The New Paper League Cup, Group A
(Diego Gama 86, 90+4)
(Jozef Kaplan 22, Bruno Castanheira 53)
Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner held four fingers up at referee Mohd Taqi, turned around and made the same gesture to the crowd at the Hougang Stadium.
His message was clear.
Hougang's last-gasp equaliser by Diego Gama came a minute after the allotted three minutes of injury time.
It sealed a two-goal comeback for the Cheetahs, who trailed Geylang for 85 minutes in The New Paper League Cup Group A match last night.
The 2-2 draw throws the group wide open after DPMM thrashed National Football League side Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) 5-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the night's other match.
SRC aside, all three teams have a chance to qualify for the semi-finals.
Last night's result, however, drew the ire of Steinebrunner.
"It was four minutes," the German coach told The New Paper.
"When the corner (which led to the goal) was taken, it was a full minute after the three minutes.
"During added time there were no substitutions, no injuries, no time stoppages.
"If the goal was scored at three minutes and 30 seconds, then you can say it's give and take - but four?"
The 43-year-old had every reason to feel hard done by as his Geylang side were the far better team for most of the match.
The Eagles dominated the first half and took the lead in the 22nd minute when Jozef Kaplan swept home the rebound after his first attempt was saved.
Though the second half was even, it was the visitors who displayed more precision up front, and they went 2-0 up after some nifty wing play by Tatsuro Inui set up Japanese compatriot Bruno Castanheira, who headed home in the 53rd minute.
Hougang never really threatened until Geylang goalkeeper Yazid Yasin dropped a routine catch with five minutes to go.
Brazilian Gama duly slotted into an empty net.
Then, in the dying seconds, Gama nodded home off a corner to give the Cheetahs a share of the spoils.
Hougang, who beat DPMM 1-0 in their first group game, are favourites to qualify for the semi-finals now as they play SRC in their final match on Thursday.
Geylang must now avoid defeat against DPMM on the same night. The top two teams from the group qualify for the last four.
"At 2-0 we looked good for three points, so this is a kick in the backside, to be honest," Steinebrunner said.
"But, at least the situation hasn't changed for us. DPMM still need to beat us, and perhaps it's a good thing we still need to get a result, rather than we go into that game complacent."
Hougang, who are second from bottom in the S.League with just one win from 11 games, are looking to the League Cup for a boost.
Having struggled to score in the league (just nine goals), the Cheetahs will be pleased that new-signing Gama - in his second spell with the club - seems up to the task.
"We've had a bad first half of the season and management has had to make some changes to the team," said Hougang team manager Matthew Tay.
"So we want to repay that faith with a good League Cup outing.
"It's always satisfying to come back from two goals down. It shows the team have fighting spirit and that the fitness work during the offseason is paying off."
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin, Fairoz Hassan (Nurhilmi Jasni 69), Delwinder Singh (Faizal Amir 46), Atsushi Shimono, Carlos Delgado, Diego Gama, Vuk Sotirovic, Fareez Farhan (Fazli Jaffar 46), Tengku Mushadad, Kenneth Chang, Yuki Uchiyama
Geylang: Yazid Yasin, Khairulnizam Jumahat (Shah Hirul 60), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Anaz Hadee 83), Tatsuro Inui, Hafiz Nor (Shawal Anuar 88), Hafiz Osman, Jozef Kaplan, Bruno Castanheira, Nor Azli
TNP Man of the Match: Tatsuro Inui (Geylang)