12 August 2012

DPMM FC are the champs

Sunday, August 12, 2012
DPMM FC marked their return to Singapore football by grabbing the Singapore League Cup last night, beating underdogs Geylang United FC 2-0 to become the first side to win the competition twice.

DPMM FC claimed the 2009 trophy their first major international haul after a penalty shoot-out win against Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC, who they disposed off 2-0 in Tuesday's semi-finals.

They were unable to complete their 2009 Singapore League (S-League) campaign after FIFA suspended Brunei, and the fact that this was their first season back at competitive football after two years should make last night's win all the more memorable.

The team will be back at 2:05pm today and they are sure to receive a rousing reception at the Brunei International Airport from their legions of fans who could not make the trip to Singapore.

DPMM FC's top scorer in the league, Shahrazen Said put DPMM FC in front after a 36th minute header from a tight angle, and though Geylang would dominate the second half, the visitors would weather the storm and add to their lead when Azwan Salleh who provided the pass for the first goal hit a jaw-dropping freekick from distance which bounced into goal after deflecting off both posts in the 76th minute.

The pride of Brunei were always the favourites not only have they beaten Geylang in their previous three encounters, they are also 10 spots above them in the S-League.

Though Brunei's only professional club had led the Singapore League (S-League) by as many as five points, their second-round slump mean they currently lie third four points behind Albirex Niigata (S) FC but with a game in hand.

Geylang might be bottom of the 13-team table, but for both sides, all thoughts of their respective S-League campaigns were cast aside when they stepped onto the artificial turf at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore last night.

DPMM FC's Patrick Roberto Daniel Da Silva carved the game's first real chance after shooting straight at goalkeeper Ridhuan Barudin after a one-two with Ivan Jerkovic in the 13th minute a shot which the Brazilian really should have buried.

Pulling all the strings in midfield, Jerkovic had the chance to put DPMM FC ahead in the 17th minute but his free-kick sailed over the left post.

Four minutes later, the Croatian saw his shot from a smart Sairol Hj Sahari back-pass swerve wide off the right post.

DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof was quick enough to tip out Michael King's header which captain Rosmin Kamis headed towards his own goal in the 23rd minute, and though they were on the ascendancy, DPMM FC were nearly caught out on the counter-attack. King was incorrectly judged offside after a Jozef Kaplan defence-splitting through ball three minutes later.

DPMM FC finally made their dominance count when Azwan sent in an inviting cross from the left wing, with Shahrazen stooping low to head the ball past Ridhuan and going on to celebrate on slumped knees.

The goal seemed to give the Eagles a new-found pair of wings, and they ended the half with Stefan Milosevic testing Wardun and Kaplan nearly grabbing an equaliser if not for a miskick inside the box.

The Eagles were simply soaring in the second half, even if South Korean Mun Seung-man was harshly shown a yellow card for a dive inside the box despite being tackled from behind by Sairol.

Stating their intentions, Milosevic had a curler which rattled the bar in the 50th minute, Kaplan had a chance which was scrambled clear six minutes later and Wardun had to be on his toes to push away a long-range free-kick from Ang Zhiwei.

Wardun who made back-to-back saves in the 4-3 penalty shoot-out during the 2009 final against SAF FC kept his team in the game with a save from a King shot, with towering centre-back Tales Ricarte dos Santos next to the rescue after racing back to clear the threat when Milosevic was put through on goal in the 65th minute.

Seconds later, his compatriot Da Silva wasted another scoring chance with a tame effort after racing past three defenders when Jerkovic had put him through on goal.

It was up to Azwan to find the second goal, and stepping up for a free-kick on the right, scored with a marvelous effort reminiscent of the injury-time winner he bagged during DPMM FC's 1-0 win over Young Lions (Singaporean national Under-23 team) in the S-League in April.

Watching the players rush to Azwan in celebration, Ridhuan who had let in only one goal in their four previous games in the tournament was left fuming with what could best be described as a freak of a free-kick.

But though they were dejected, Geylang were definitely not defeated.

A slack back-pass from dos Santos was nearly gobbled up by Milosevic in the 85th minute, and the experienced Wardun did well to come out and clear the danger.

King and Milosevic would both create chances which were left unconverted, and in the end, Geylang's fairy-tale did not have a happy ending.

DPMM FC, though, will be revelling in their second Singapore League Cup in as many years.The Brunei Times

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