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 By Kenneth Tan

Geylang International face Warriors FC, target S.League top four

Rejuvenated Geylang International will be looking to move up to fourth place in the S.League table when they go away to Choa Chu Kang Stadium to face Warriors FC on Friday night.

Just two points behind Warriors, a victory for the Eagles will see them leapfrog the nine-time champions to move into the top four.

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Geylang have picked up their form since Noor Ali took over from Hasrin Jailani in mid-June, with just three defeats in 11 outings under the tutelage of the former Singapore winger.

Two of those have come against Albirex in the Singapore League Cup and S.League, while the other defeat came in a penalty shootout after a 4-4 draw with Philippines outfit Global-Cebu over 120 minutes.

The Eagles have won four of their last five S.League matches, including a routine 2-0 victory against Balestier Khalsa last Saturday.

Geylang International, Victor Coto, Gabriel Quak
Geylang have lost only three times in 11 games since Noor Ali took over as head coach.

Noor Ali does not want his side to rest on their laurels though as they target their first win against Warriors this year.

The sides drew 1-1 at Choa Chu Kang in March, before a Shahril Ishak brace sank the Eagles in a televised game at Jalan Besar three months later, which proved to be Hasrin's final game in charge.

"It was a brilliant performance from the boys [against Balestier]. I'm happy with the two goals we scored but the most important thing was the three points," he told the official S.League website.

"Now we are closer to Warriors and the gap is something to play for. Both teams want to finish on a high, so it will be a good game when we go to the Choa Chu Kang Stadium."

One player who is certain to start for the Eagles is Gabriel Quak, with the winger bouncing back from his recent omission from the Singapore national team squad with a goal and an assist against Balestier.

"Gabriel played well, taking his goal well and even getting an assist in the second half," Noor Ali said. "It was a good game from him and hopefully he gets a call-up back to the national team where he can be an asset to the team."

As for the Warriors, they are seemingly losing steam after a bright start to the season which saw them go unbeaten for the first six games.

Since defeating Geylang 2-0 in June, they won just two of their next seven league matches, which saw talk of a possible title challenge evaporate.

Their last league game was nearly a month ago when they let slip a 2-1 lead to draw 2-2 against third-from-bottom Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh.

The Warriors did host Malaysia Premier League side Johor Darul Ta'zim II in a friendly earlier this week, in which they fell to a 4-2 defeat. The Singapore side struck through an own goal and a Shaiful Esah free kick.

Razif Onn will be hoping that his skipper Shahril pick up where he left off, with 12 goals in all competitions this season.

In Friday night's other S.League match, Garena Young Lions will continue their search for a first win this season when they go away to Hougang United.

Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT

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