Brunei DPMM vs Tampines Rovers
(Friday, 28 April, 8.15pm, Bandar Seri Begawan)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Brunei DPMM will be looking to return to winning ways in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai when they host Tampines Rovers in Bandar Seri Begawan on Friday night.
After their 2-0 defeat to Geylang International the last time out, Steve Kean’s side - who sit second from bottom - have already lost five games and are making their worst start to any S.League season.
However, Kean believes that better days are coming and it is a matter of time before the Wasps bounce back.
“Some things are going against us at the moment and we are going through a tough spell at the moment,” he said of the 2015 S.League champions.
“It's not really falling for us but we just have to work through it.”
Reflecting on the loss to the Eagles, the former Blackburn Rovers manager added: “But we have to accept that the first goal’s poor and that's two mistakes that's cost us.
“We have to work on our basic defending. When the ball's there to be cleared, you clear it,”
Having conceded 14 goals so far, Kean admits that his side’s team defensive frailties are clear to see but has vowed to work on that.
“What we can do when defending the crosses is to first of all, you stop it from coming in,” said the Scot. “When it does come in, we must make sure we head it out of the red zone which is just on the edge the box.
“If you don’t do that, you run the risk of having to defend second phase - which means volleys or one-two. So defensive headers need to go out and beyond that danger area. This gives the other guys the chance to pick the ball up for us to break forward.”
Tampines on the other hand, come into this after a last-gasp 1-0 win over Garena Young Lions last Sunday.
It seemed like the two teams had to settle for a point each but forward Khairul Amri popped up with the winner deep into injury time to help the Stags keep pace with leaders Albirex Niigata (S).
Raab will however be without the services of his talismanic forward who, along with midfielder Son Yong Chan, will be suspended for this one.
Despite their unavailability, the German is confident that the rest of his players can step up and deliver.
“If Amri is not in the team, we have to look at what we can do,” said Raab.
“We will find a solution, something the team has shown (that they can do) in the past. We've had so many problems with injuries but we have always found a solution.
“But we have managed to close the gap to the top teams, and that's the most important thing.”
Suspensions: Son Yong Chan and Khairul Amri (Tampines Rovers)