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[TNP League Cup] Tired Eagles left grounded against tepid White Swans

Atsushi Kawata headed home the lead
Geylang International coach Jorg Steinebrunner couldn't hide his disappointment after saw his men conceded three goals without reply against a less intense Albirex Niigata (Singapore) in the first semi-final played on past Sunday.

"We just don't have the physical presence in the first half where we gave away the (first) goal cheaply," said the German coach.

"I am disappointed with the standard of play that after two days we played against (Brunei) DPMM when we had play with such high intensity, the desire was missing today." added Coach Steinebrunner.

Tatsuro Inui (left) facing hurdles in the match
The remarks from the former Woodlands Wellington coach could be felt by many at the ground where the Eagles looked jaded and simply failed to strike a rhythm against a resilient White Swan who sat back to defend in numbers after took the lead in the 10th minute with a header from Atsushi Kawata who rose above the sea of heads to take the lead.

Nonetheless, it didn't see the Japanese side, who were past winners in 2011, built up from that early start, until late in the game with two late goals from Kento Nagasaki and Fumiya Kogure, with chances hard to come by as well that saw the match best described as a tepid affair for any neutral watching the game which draw a blunt comment from Coach Steinebrunner.

Geylang's Jozef Kaplan being sandwiched
Albirex's 'keeper Yosuke Nozawa claimed the ball
 "To be honest, in a lot of areas I don't think any of the teams (tonight) deserved to go to the final and it's not that Albirex were ahead better than us, it just that they did not make the three mistakes we did." opined the former defender who also felt that better scheduling of the competition fixtures would have placed the teams on an equal footing for the semis after Albirex played their last game on 26th of June as compared to Geylang's fixture against the Wasps merely three days before on the 2nd of July.

Albirex's coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama did not to give a straight reply when prompted the question if they had the advantage for having more rest days before the match than their opponents, as suggested by his counterpart.

"Talking about the fixtures, it's the League who decided the fixtures which we just followed the fixtures" said the 39-year-old.

"Geylang is a good team and we are happy to play them in the semi-final where I think we also made some mistakes but we shown that we want to go the final and hope we can win the League Cup and hope the Japanese Women Football Team would win the World Cup tomorrow morning."


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