26 May 2013

Young Lions frustrate DPMM FC

Sunday, May 26, 2013
YOUNG Lions finally picked up their first point of the Singapore League season last night the only problem was that it was against DPMM FC.

Singapore's national Under-23 team fought out a 1-1 draw in a match that saw both teams reduced to 10-men, Shahrazen Said receiving his marching orders after a 35th minute head-butt on Sheikh Abdul Hadi who appeared to have punched the striker, who just seconds earlier was shown his first yellow for a harsh tackle on the defender while the visitors had Sahil Suhaimi sent off for stamping defender Pg Sallehuddin Pg Hj Damit just past the hour mark.

Shahrazen's brother Adi opened the scoring in the ninth minute after a header off a cross from captain Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis to cap off a period of strong pressure by the hosts at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, though the Young Lions would roar back after Shahrazen's dismissal and claimed what would be only their third goal in 13 S-League games with Sahil's low effort from the edge of the box after a counter-attack.

Last season's runners-up, DPMM FC have now dropped from sixth to seventh in the 12-team S-League due to last night's other results; Balestier Khalsa FC shocked defending champions and leaders Tampines Rovers FC 4-0 to move to third, though Warriors FC's 1-1 draw against Woodlands Wellington FC had no bearing on DPMM FC's standing.

"I always knew the Young Lions would get a point, it's just unfortunate they got it here," said DPMM FC's coach Vjeran Simunic, whose team fell to their second straight defeat after losing 2-1 to Hougang United FC last Wednesday.

"I'm not happy with the result, but I'm happy with how we played.

"I couldn't have asked for more from my players.

"We were horribly unlucky but I don't blame Shahrazen.

"Shahrazen is guilty, but if you were hit, how would you feel?," argued the reigning S-League Coach of the Year.

The Young Lions came into the match without a single point after 12 games largely due to the fact that they had the results of four games overturned after fielding ineligible players, but Simunic always knew the challenge at hand, pointing out before the match that all of the Young Lions' defeats have been by one goal.

No surprise, then, that his counterpart feels last night's result will help them turn a new leaf.

"I'm confident this will be a good start for us," said Aide Iskandar as he looked around the dark and empty 30,000 capacity venue that was once a fortress for DPMM FC.

"Win or lose, we always respect our opponents," added the former Singapore national team skipper when asked why all his players lined up to shake Simunic's hand after the game.

Simunic's insistence that he was happy with his players' performance was understandable.

Yet again, midfielder Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris showed why he is becoming the team's puppet-master in midfield, pulling all the strings and hitting inch-perfect cross-field passes for fun with comparisons to Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso not out of place though this is his first season for the club.

It was his quick pass to Rosmin which put the captain into space on the left, and his cross was met by an equally deft header by Adi.

The striker, though, was guilty of missing several other chances, the most notable when he hit the post during an one-on-one with goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari in the second half.

Though the Young Lions clearly lacked the experience which leads to better decision-making, and perhaps even a bit of technique, it was hardly a stroll in the park for DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof.

Iqbal Hussain forced the glovesman into a brave point-blank save in the 23th minute, and Sahil gave him another scare when he hit the crossbar two minutes later.

Iqbal produced another stop from Wardun after a vicious shot from inside the box in the 67th minute and substitute Faiz Salleh hit the side netting four minutes later but Wardun's best contribution came in the 90th minute when he smartly rushed out of the box to clear the danger posed by an onrushing Young Lions' captain Raihan Rahman .

DPMM FC could have came away with all three points in the 85th minute, but Rosmin's shot from the edge of the box sailed wide of the bar exemplifying the hosts' night perfectly.

DPMM FCs next game S-League game is on June 28 against Japanese outfit Albirex Niigata (S) FC, though they will first have to face Lao Police FC in their Singapore Cup campaign opener on Thursday the Laotians the defending champions of their league after defeating runners-up Yotha FC by one point last season.

Meanwhile at the Toa Payoh Stadium in Singapore last night, Tampines were dealt their second S-League loss of the season after Qiu Li and Kim Minho put Balestier 2-0 up at the break.

The former netted in the 39th minute and the latter found the net two minutes before the breather.

It got even worse for the Stags when Paul Cunningham made it 3-0 in the 47th minute, with Park Kang Jins 55th minute goal handing the titleholders home empty-handed.

Atsushi Shimono put Woodlands 1-0 up at the 63rd minute at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore but Tatsuro Inui would steal the Warriors a draw with a goal two minutes before time.

The Brunei Times

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