The reign of Akbar Nawas as Global-Cebu head coach got off to a dramatic start, with the Singaporean guiding the Philippines' outfit to victory on penalties over Geylang International in the Singapore Cup on Wednesday night.
Global prevailed 3-2 on spot kicks after a thrilling 4-4 draw over 120 minutes in a preliminary-round clash at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Akbar is a former Tampines Rovers coach who first joined Global as a technical consultant last month for their AFC Cup campaign.
But Geylang, led by interim coach Noor Ali, had gotten off to a superb start in the tie by scoring on 15 minutes.
Safirul Sulaiman followed up on his own half-cleared corner to deliver a sweet inswinging cross from the right for Yuki Ichikawa, who out-leapt Global goalkeeper Patrick Deyto to nod home.
The Busmen took just four minutes to draw level. Darryl Roberts capitalised from captain Misagh Bahadoran's scuffed shot to poke in from close range.
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The Trinidadian forward was at it again in the 39th minute, as he sent Syazwan Buhari the wrong way from the spot after being brought down by Al-Qaasimy Rahman in the box to put his side 2-1 up.
Al-Qaasimy would, however, make amends by setting up Geylang's equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
The former Singapore Under-23 captain surged onto Gabriel Quak's cutback, before squaring across the box for Victor Coto to fire into the bottom left corner.
Global would retake the lead eight minutes into the second half after Safirul had blatantly handled Hikaru Minegishi's goal-bound shot.
Minegishi's resulting penalty was parried by Syazwan, but Roberts was on hand to bury the rebound and complete his hat trick.
It looked like the game was all over when Global went 4-2 up on 75 minutes, with Mario Clarino firing into the bottom right corner after being teed up by a Roberts back-heel in the box.
However, Geylang produced a spirited response and scored two in the final seven minutes to restore parity.
Quak converted from the spot after Coto was brought down in the box to give the Eagles a glimmer of hope.
RHB Singapore Cup 2017 (Preliminary Round) FULL-TIME at Jalan Besar Stadium - Geylang International 4-4 Global Cebu FC (Yuki Ichikawa 15', Victor Coto 45', Gabriel Quak 83', Ricardo Sendra 90'; Darryl Roberts 19' 39' 53', Mario Clarino 75') #GEYGLO Global wins 3-2 on penalties. Congratulations to Global for progressing to the quarter-finals!
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Then Ricardo Sendra expertly took down Anders Aplin's lofted ball before firing low past the onrushing Deyto to push the game into extra time.
The Argentinian playmaker could have won the game in the 120th minute. But he saw his spectacular volley from the edge of the box come off the bar before bouncing to safety.
The match proceeded to the dreaded penalty shootout where Geylang converted just one of their first three. Faritz Hameed and Sendra saw their efforts saved, while Global converted their first three attempts.
Minegishi could have sealed the win for Global but saw his shot crash off the crossbar.
That miss did not matter though, as Quak sent Geylang's fifth penalty agonisingly wide of the right-hand post to ensure Global's progression into the quarterfinals.
"Of course I'm elated with the result, it's depressing to concede in the last minute and we were demoralised by that. So you cannot hide that amazing feeling to win then on penalties," Global boss Akbar said.
"Of course knowing a bit of the coaches, the referees and the Geylang players [from my time in the S.League] helped. Certain decisions and certain tactical plays, I am able to analyse and handle them."
Geylang interim boss Noor Ali said: "The performance's fantastic and everyone gave their 100 percent. We should have killed off the game earlier and it was a pity Ricardo hit the bar right at the death. We knew Global played three days ago so we tried to take advantage of that and went all out.
"We wanted the game to drag to extra time because it's hard to beat them in 90 minutes. Global's a good team with speed and aggression."
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Yuki Ichikawa, Anders Aplin, Safirul Sulaiman, Ricardo Sendra, Isa Halim (C), Victor Coto, Shawal Anuar (Gabriel Quak 28'), Amy Recha (Shahfiq Ghani 62')
Global Cebu: Patrick Deyto (GK), Jerry Barbaso, Amani Aguinaldo, Wesley Santos, Mario Clarino, Serge Kaole (Paolo Salenga 71', Paolo Bugas 89'), Matthew Hartmann, Dennis Villanueva (Marco Casambre 78'), Hikaru Minegishi, Misagh Bahadoran (C), Darryl Roberts