29 April 2012

A Friday to remember

Sunday, April 29, 2012
HBT team's skipper makes DPMM FC debut

GOOD things come to those who wait a mantra which Vjeran Simunic certainly subscribes to.

The DPMM FC head coach handed Md Najib Hj Tarif his Singapore League (S-League) debut in the 86th minute of Friday night's 3-0 win over Woodlands Wellington FC, replacing Ghanaian striker Osman Basiru with the 24-year-old captain of the national side that won the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy last month.

Also enjoying some playing time at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas were striker Adi Said and midfielder Ak Mohammad Fakharrazi Pg Hj Hassan, both of whom were featuring in their third game for Brunei's only professional football club and current S-League leaders.

Simunic has always maintained he is wary of changing a winning team the side have only lost once in 10 games. But with the hosts enjoying a comfortable 3-0 lead after an hour courtesy of a brace from Brazilian hitman Rodrigo Gral and an early goal by Adi's brother Shahrazen, he decided to make an exception on his birthday.

"I never like changing my team when they are playing well ... but with 10 minutes to go, I'm happy I could give those three young players a chance," said the Croatian, who turned 57 on Friday.

"Wardun (goalkeeper Wardun Yussof) kept a clean sheet and I'm also happy about that. But I must think about every player ... Osman (Ghanaian striker Osman Basiru), Gral who played very well.

"It's not easy to give everybody a chance, but the players understand the situation," said Simunic.

Substituted in the 81st minute for Gral, Adi who played the whole second half during their 1-0 loss to Home United in Singapore last week had the biggest impact on Friday's game, asserting himself on the right flank with some dazzling dribbles which drew some healthy applause from the partisan home crowd.

Najib and Ak Mohammad Fakharrazi though, who was put on in place of Helmi Zambin in the 90th minute, didn't have as much time to stamp their authority on the game though Najib proved his composure with a couple of calm touches and passes.

Though they had more than half an hour to strut their stuff, Woodlands' substitutes Australian forward Hussein Akil and South Korean striker Moon Soon-ho could have done more to turn the game around.

But however lively they looked on the ball, it was obvious that the two were still injured as Rams' assistant coach Clement Tan had readily admitted during Thursday's pre-match Press conference.

Moon has a bad left knee while Hussein has been out for three weeks with a hamstring injury, but that the duo were both put into the game in the 53rd minute when DPMM FC were playing with none of the verve which characterised their first-half performance is a credit to the visitors' fighting spirit.

The result might have been different had Shahrazen not netted in the fourth minute with an easy effort after a darting run into the box from the right effectively setting the tone for the rest of the tie which DPMM FC controlled.

"It definitely affected the game," agreed Tan of Shahrazen's fifth strike of the season.

"Naturally, some of the players had their heads down and we weren't very happy with the way we conceded the first goal. But overall I'm quite happy with the second half performance. We had the opportunities, but we just couldnt convert.

"We were thinking why should we risk them?" said Tan when asked why Moon and Hussein were introduced.

"We have got able replacements (but) it didnt work out the way we had expected it to, so it was unfortunate," he added. The Brunei Times

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