18 March 2012

DPMM FC deserve to be leaders: Rivals

Jason Thomas

Sunday, March 18, 2012

THERE was no doubt in V Kanan's mind that Geylang United FC were second best on Friday night.

Suffering their fourth straight loss of the Singapore League (S-League) campaign by falling 4-1 to DPMM FC, the Geylang coach admitted his men didn't give Brunei's only professional football club enough of a fight.

The result at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas meant DPMM FC now sit pretty atop the 13-team S-League table with 10 points from four games and enjoy a game in hand over nearest rivals Home United FC.

Geylang, meanwhile, remain rooted to the bottom of the table without a win to their name.

"We conceded some silly goals," sighed Kanan, who was in charge of the team for the first time.

"Nevertheless, DPMM FC played some good football and they deserved to win.

"The boys worked very hard and I thought at 2-1 we could have come back.

"But I'm proud of my team this was their best performance in our four games," declared Kanan, who used to coach the club's Prime League team for 10 years and led them to the title last season.

After a promising start Shahrazen Said got DPMM FC on the scoresheet in the 23rd minute, with Ghanian striker Osman Basiru netting his third goal of the season 12 minutes later.

The team had their foot off the gas in the second half and were punished for it when Brazilian centre-back Tales Ricarte dos Santos lost the ball to Michael King inside the box. His last-ditch tackle felled the former Burnley player and resulted in a penalty kick which Jozef Kaplan cooly slotted home.

The visitors would enjoy more possession after the goal and did well to create space on the flanks, setting up a nervy few minutes for the home fans.

But dos Santos made up for his mistake by connecting on a superb free-kick from Croatian midfielder Ivan Jerkovic in the 78th minute, and they got their fourth goal in injury time when substitute Helmi Zambin's persistence led to him heading home his own rebound after a scything cross-field pass from Azwan Salleh the first goal of the season for both players

Brazilian striker Rodrigo Grahl had another quiet game for DPMM FC, which probably accounted for his substitution with Helmi six minutes before time.

Vjeran Simunic, though, said there was more to it than met the eye.

"Grahl played with injections today (Friday) so I must say he is very professional though it is risky," said the DPMM FC coach.

"Helmi had an excellent goal they were all excellent.

"My players gave 200 per cent for this win. But, Geylang really worked hard too and I'm not sure how they lost their last game 7-1," said the Croatian, adding that the team did make six changes from the side that self-destructed against Home United FC.

As confident as Simunic always is, he didn't want to answer questions on whether the Brunei team could maintain their good performance. He also didn't feel it was a problem that goalkeeper Wardun Yussof had not kept a clean sheet in any of their four games.

"Again, I'm happy with how we played just four days after our last game (against Albirex Niigata FC (S) on Sunday)," he said.

"We survived a horrible schedule ... If we got three draws from it I'd also be excited.

"We always fight from game to game. Even if we always win 3-1, 3-1 ... We'd still be champions.

"I'm very sorry for Wardun because this was a game he could have kept a clean sheet.

"But you must know, this is football, not a shopping centre."The Brunei Times

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