Gabriel Quak on song for Geylang, eager for Mark Hartmann combo

Fresh from his 90th-minute winner that gave Geylang International a 2-1 win over Home United at Bishan Stadium on Thursday, Gabriel Quak is rallying his teammates for a final push to make his AFC Cup dream come alive.

With the winners of the S.League and Singapore Cup representing the Republic in the 2017 AFC Cup competition, the Eagles are desperate to return to their glory days, and with their fifth win of the season, things are looking up for the green-and-white army.

Sitting in fifth place on 21 points and with a quarterfinal tie against Albirex Niigata (S) next week, Geylang are hoping to finish June still in contention in both competitions.

"Of course playing in the AFC Cup will be the next step for Geylang and myself," Quak told ESPN FC. "This club are used to being at the top and we need to make it happen.

"Winning the S.League will be difficult but we can get to the AFC Cup by winning the Singapore Cup.

"Coach Hasrin [Jailani] is in his first season as manager and most of the team are all fresh faces playing together for the first time.

"The club management put a lot of effort and financial backing into making Geylang a powerhouse again, and as a player, it is down to us to make that happen on the pitch."

Having scored his third goal of the season to go with his three assists, the former LionsXII winger's last-gasp winner against the Protectors was one which he will remember for a long time.

"I don't think we played well in this game but that is football," he added. "Sometimes, we just have to take our chances even when things are not going our way.

"When I saw the big guys like Yuki [Ichikawa] and Shariff [Samat] join the attack, I took a gamble and tried to pick up the second balls.

"Luckily for me, I managed to connect with the ball and scoring with my right foot and snatching three points for Geylang made it even sweeter."

While he may have stolen the limelight for his matchwinner, Quak is pleased to see his teammate Sahil [Suhaimi] get on the score sheet, and is confident that the club's latest signing Mark Hartmann will add even more firepower to the Eagles artillery.

Hartmann, 24, became the first Filipino footballer to sign for a S.League club earlier this month but has yet to make his debut, as he continues his comeback from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"This guy has the physique needed to be the main striker. Even before the club signed him, I watched him in action for Philippines and he is a nightmare for defenders," Quak said.

"It'll probably take him a few games to adapt to the league but what he brings is that fear factor.

"He will make teams fear playing us more and we need that player who can pressure opposing defences and make them worry about us. As for me, I'm hoping to provide the crosses to give him as many chances to score as possible."

Hartmann is likely to be thrown into the deep end against the White Swans over the two legs in the Singapore Cup next week, but with Sahil back to scoring ways and Carlos Delgado pulling the strings in midfield, Geylang will seek to upset the odds and thwart Albirex's hopes of retaining the trophy they won last year.

He added: "Nothing comes easy in football. Yes, Albirex are in good form but Geylang have a squad capable of matching them on our day. Cup games are all about who wants it more, and hopefully, it will be the Eagles who can go through to the final four."