Three goals, two of which came in extra time, from Mark Hartmann alongside a crucial Paolo Salenga goal earned Global an important 4-1 win after extra time against Geylang International last night at the Bedok Stadium in Singapore. As a result, the 2014 UFL Champions have progressed to the semifinals of the 2015 Singapore Cup.
Global, who narrowly lost the first leg by a lone goal, played aggressively early on to cancel the deficit. Mark Hartmann led the charge, producing two good chances contained by Geylang in the opening 15 minutes of play. Their approach offensively made them vulnerable on the other side of the pitch. Eleven minutes in, Masaki Yanagawa made a pivotal intervention to halt the promising Geylang attack. It was the only time Global felt threatened in the opening half.
The Filipinos’ pursuit for goal bore fruit at the 20th minute. Mark Hartmann nabbed the ball on the edge of the box before hitting it into the back of the net. The game then became a see-saw affair with neither team getting a clear cut chance on goal in the next 21 minutes of play. The next chance to Mark Hartmann’s goal came by the way of OJ Clarino. The UST alum, however, sent his shot wide. The same happened four minutes later, this time involving the goal scorer’s brother Matthew Hartmann.
Early in the second half, Geylang had two good opportunities to restore their aggregate lead, but the visitors coped well with danger in both instances. After the hour mark, Global resumed their attacking barrage. Clarino’s dead ball attempt went straight to the goalkeeper at the 66th minute, four minutes before Matthew Hartmann’s shot was tipped over the bar.
Their intent on attacking left them then vulnerable again behind, and this time around Geylang did not spurn their chance. Nor Azli teed up Bruno who found the back of the net for the Singaporeans 14 minutes from time. The celebration did not last long for Geylang, who conceded poorly four minutes later. Substitute striker Paolo Salenga took advantage of a defensive mishap to the tie the aggregate score again, 2-2.
Global nearly snatched it in normal time. Two minutes after Global’s second goal, the Filipino goal scorers for the night, Mark Hartmann and Salenga, were denied by the crossbar in quick succession. Misagh Bahadoran also had a try in claiming the din but he unfurled his shot off target. As the two teams were not separated after 180 minutes of two-legged football, the match had to go into extra time.
Chances were few in the opening half if of extra time. It took seven minutes for the game to spark back into life courtesy of a wayward attempt by Bahadoran. At the 101st minute, Geylang wasted a good opportunity. On his way to receiving a through pass, Nor Azli was onside. However, the flag was still raised as his offside teammate Bruno intervened. It was costly mainly because Global seized the lead at the next minute. Mark Hartmann finishing nicely down the other end to give Global the aggregate lead heading to the half time of extra time.
In extra time’s second half, Global foiled a Geylang chance. Deyto seemed to have dropped the ball but the referee thought that Bruno got in the way of the Filipino goalkeeper midway through the catch. Global nearly sealed the quarterfinal but Bahadoran and Matthew Hartmann were off target. As for Geylang, they came closest with Shafeeq’s effort two minutes before time that prompted a fine stop from Deyto. The Singaporeans’ evening went from bad to worse right at the end when Mark Hartmann rounded past the keeper to complete his hattrick for Global.
The sole foreign representative in the 2015 Singapore Cup now awaits the winner between Albirex Niigata Singapore and Balestier Khalsa, who like Global face a 1-0 aggregate deficit. The semifinals are set to be played on September or October. — LGT
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