Filipino striker Mark Hartmann starred for Singaporean club Geylang International FC in their New Paper League Cup plate championship victory over Hougang United FC, 2-1, at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.
Hartmann, who also ended the tournament as one of the top scorers with four goals, played as a vital cog in his new team’s campaign in the competition.
In Geylang’s blitz towards the inaugural plate title, it was Hartmann who gave their side a first taste of the lead following his shot in the 33rd minute.
The team’s advantage was quickly doubled just three minutes after courtesy of a strike from Singaporean Shawal Anuar.
Hougang took one back for their squad just a few moment before halftime as Josef Kaplan exposed a gap on Geylang’s defense for a shot on target to slice down the lead to just a single goal.
Several more exchanges from the opposing sides continued throughout the remained of the contest but both failed to clinch additional goals at fulltime.
“It feels great scoring goals again. I’ve hit a good bit of form so hopefully it continues to the end of the season,” Hartmann told The Manila Times in an interview.
Hartmann has already adapted to the system of his new club despite only completing his transfer from the Philippines last month.
“Considering that I’ve only been here a short while I’ve adapted very quickly. The coaches and players have helped me out a lot to settle into the team,” he stated.
He has been receiving positive feedback from his coaches and teammates that made his transfer easier.
“Getting a lot of praise from both [coaches and teammates]and also the fans which is nice. We have a good team morale here so its makes playing together a lot easier, everyone gets on well,” he said.
The 24-year-old Filipino-English player started the group phase with a notable two-goal outburst in the second half in the Eagles’ 2-2 draw against Balestier Khalsa FC at the Toa Payoh Stadium on July 14.
Hartman made his mark in the team’s match against Warriors FC with a late-game screamer in the final minute of regulation to secure the triumph of the Eagles.
The Filipino booter previously played for two-time Philippine United Football League titleholder Global FC, where he won the Golden Boot award in the 2014 season.
He also had seven international caps in the Under-23 national football team and has appeared 18 times, together with his seven goals, for the Philippine Azkals since his debut in 2011.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES