12 February 2012

DPMM FC vs 'Barca'

Jason Thomas

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DPMM FC: Probable line-up : 3-4-3
Wardun Yussof; Sairol Hj Sahari, Tales Ricarte dos Santos, Shahrulrizal Hj Abd Rahman; Hj Muhd Subhi Abdilah Hj Bakir, Ivan Jerkovic, Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis, Azwan Salleh; Rodrigo Gral,Osman Basiru, Shahrazen Md Said

VJERAN Simunic (pic) has just paid Tampines Rovers FC the ultimate compliment ahead of their Singapore League (S-League) season opener tonight.

DPMM FC face the defending champions at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas at 8.15pm in what will be their first S-League match since Sept 29, 2009 which coincidentally, was against the same opponents.

"They are like the Singaporean Barcelona," said the DPMM FC coach yesterday.

"(Forward) Aleksandar Duric and (midfielder) Fahrudin Mustafic are legends they are maybe the two best players in Singapore.

"Benoit Croissant is one of the best defenders in the league over the past seven to 10 years and the side also have a few good players who came from the Croatian first division ... goalkeeper Sasa Dreven, attacking midfielders Davor Piskor and Gligor Gligorov.

"Midfielders Jamil Ali, Imran Sahib, Ismadi Mukhtar have been involved in the Singapore (national) team so we all know Tampines are a strong side," he added.

DPMM FC's first meeting with the Stags on April 3, 2009, ended in a 1-1 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore while the second on July 10, 2009, saw the hosts record a 2-1 win at the same venue. The third was the 2-2 draw.

The Croatian felt the 2-2 result three years ago was hardly relevant now that the team have reinforced their squad several times over.

Despite all the hype building up to the game against Tampines who won the Charity Shield after a conclusive 2-0 victory against Home United in the season's curtain raiser last Sunday Simunic seemed confident a win for the 2009 Singapore League Cup champions was on the cards.

"We can speak about Tampines for 10 pages, but I don't want to think about that I want to think about my own team," he said.

"We always play well against big teams and our fans are our 12th player. That will help us make a good performance," added the DPMM FC coach.

Tampines team manager Zulkarnaen Zainal admitted the Charity Shield win against Singapore Cup champions Home United was a welcome boost ahead of their title defence. Piskor and Gligorov netted both the goals to help the Stags take home the first piece of silverware on offer this season, and Zulkarnaen believed the team was now fully prepared for their first S-League game.

But though DPMM FC haven't played a competitive game in three years, the manager wasn't taking anything for granted.

"We're ready," promised Zulkarnaen in a telephone interview on Friday.

"It won't be easy to retain our title (and) we'll have to maintain our standard.

"We're expecting DPMM FC to field a good side. You cannot underestimate them, they must be respected.

"Of course we're happy we won the Charity Shield (but) for every team, every first match is a difficult task," he added.

Tonight's other game will see the Young Lions, Singapore's Under-23 team, take on Woodlands at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Harimau Muda, Malaysia's Under-23 team, currently lead the S-League after a 2-0 win over Gombak United in the league's first day of action on Thursday. Though Albirex Niigata (S) upset giants Singapore Armed Forces FC 3-2 on Friday, they are second because of goal difference.

Tanjong Pagar and Hougang United played out a 1-1 draw on Thursday while Friday's other game saw Home United held to a 0-0 tie by Balestier Khalsa.The Brunei Times

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