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Geylang put up strong fight in narrow defeat to Johor Darul Ta'zim

JDT vs. Geylang at Larkin
JDT sealed a 2-1 home win over Geylang in a preseason friendly on Tuesday night. (Photo credit: Geylang International)

S.League side Geylang International fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Malaysia Super League (MSL) and AFC Cup champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) at Larkin Stadium on Tuesday night.

Fielding their likely starting lineup for the upcoming season, the home side had new foreign import striker Paulo Rangel partnering Jorge Pereyra Diaz in attack.

The Eagles played Brank Cubrilo -- who is on trial with the S.League outfit -- as the lone striker, flanked by Amy Recha and Sahil Suhaimi.

After Geylang managed to keep the partisan crowd quiet for the opening quarter of the game, Malaysian international forward Amri Yahyah got a glimpse of goal in the 22nd minute and made no mistake with a cool finish to give JDT the lead.

Just when it seemed like the Southern Tigers were in cruise control with Singapore international Hariss Harun pulling the strings in midfield, the Eagles equalised through Recha in the 37th minute.

The second half saw a slew of substitutions for both sides, as the action continued to flow, with glorious opportunities for Safee Sali and Sahil to give their teams the lead.

With a draw in sight, substitute midfielder Amirul Hadi rifled the ball into the net on 93 minutes to seal a 2-1 win for the home team in front of a capacity crowd.

Geylang will kick off their S.League campaign in the eastern derby against Tampines Rovers on Feb. 15 while JDT face Malaysia Cup champions Selangor in the Charity Shield -- which doubles as the MSL opener -- two days earlier.

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