17 March 2012

4-star DPMM FC go top

Jason Thomas

Saturday, March 17, 2012

DPMM FC moved to the summit of the Singapore League (S-League) after a seemingly convincing 4-1 win over Geylang United FC last night, jumping five places and becoming the first team to break the 10-point barrier.

Though on paper the match against the basement dwellers wasn't meant to trouble the team, on the pitch, it proved to be a different story especially after the visitors promisingly powered forward after pulling back to 2-1 with a Jozef Kaplan penalty on the hour mark.

But weathering the storm, Brunei's only professional football club would add to their advantage with season-first goals from centre-back Tales Ricarte dos Santos and substitute Helmi Zambin, the latter's 90th minute strike ensuring all three points at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

Their third win in four games, the ever-confident Vjeran Simunic was in a buoyant mood after the match.

"Absolutely! I feel we deserve to be on top," said the DPMM FC coach.

"It's like in Formula 1 we are now in pole position. I'm happy that we could one day be leading the league.

"The game is nothing surprising for me. I said it would be dangerous at 2-0 and a little mistake made it 2-1 ... But that's football," shrugged the Croatian.

With a 2-0 lead at the break, complacency started to creep into DPMM FC's game in the second half with the "little mistake" coming when dos Santos gave the ball away to an onrushing Michael King and brought the former Burnley player down in the box.

The Eagles would soar forward bolstered by the well-taken Kaplan penalty, but King's 71st minute shot with his back to goal was the best opportunity they would get to even the scores with Geylang failing to trouble goalkeeper Wardun Yussof for the rest of the match.

Shahrazen Said opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but Ghanian striker Osman Basiru did all the hard work.

Dribbling past three defenders on the left, he smashed a shot that bounced off the left post but was met with a half-volley from Shahrazen the fan favourite picking up his second goal of the season.

Capping off an encouraging combination on attack from all three of DPMM FC's forwards, the free-flowing second goal was bound to put a smile on Simunic's face where once again, the team were able to exploit space on the left.

Shahrazen evaded his markers and squared the ball to Brazilian striker Rodrigo Grahl who wisely laid it off to Basiru.

Rifling the ball to the top of the net, his third goal in four games has now made him the team's top scorer.

"I was confident I would score," grinned Basiru after the game. "I think I have been getting better every game ... I need to help the club," added the 23-year-old hitman.

Dos Santos brought the team back from their second-half lull when the lanky Brazilian headed home a pin-point free-kick from Croatian midfielder Ivan Jerkovic in the 78th minute, and Simunic's decision to replace the ineffective Grahl for Helmi in the 84th minute paid off when the diminutive 25-year-old headed in his own rebound after a searching cross-field pass from midfielder Azwan Salleh.

The Brunei Times

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