03 March 2013

Heartbreak for DPMM FC

Saturday, March 2, 2013
DPMM FC blew a two-goal lead and missed two penalties in their Singapore League home opener against Hougang United FC last night, the 3-3 draw ranking as one of the most dramatic games in their three-year S-League history.

The Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas has always been a difficult place for most S-League teams to take points away from, the atmosphere created by the thousands of DPMM FC fans a world apart from the average crowd of 932 that the league recorded last year.

It wasn't a problem for Hougang goalkeeper Fadhil Salim though, who dove to his right twice to deny penalties from Shahrazen Said who was gunning for his hat-trick and Croatian Ivan Bosjnak, who was looking to score his first goal for his new club.

"Penalties are a gamble... A game of sychology too," noted Fadhil.

"I took a chance with the saves so it was pure luck that I guessed which side.

"Actually, I got a few tips from my (goalkeeper) coach Rezal Hassan Tips on which side to jump.

"I can't tell you more than that, or the other clubs will know what we're up to," he said teasingly.

DPMM FC's coach Vjeran Simunic, who was hardly in a mood for teasing after the game, might have been forgiven for thinking that Shahrazen's 61st minute brace would have sealed all the points after going 3-1 up.

But despite the hosts enjoying two penalties, the second sending Hougang captain Lau Meng Meng to an 80th minute shower for what looked like an elbow to DPMM FC's Portuguese striker Joao Vitor Rocha De Carvalho Moreira, Simunic still felt his team were robbed.

"We needed three penalties more!," he fumed, telling the press to write about the game after watching replays of the match.

"If you want to play handball, no problem," he said, referring to a goal-line clearance from Syaqir Sulaiman, who looked to have handled the ball when saving a 70th minute shot from Bosjnak.

"We missed two penalties but that's football. Shahrazen was under pressure to score a hat-trick, and Ivan made a mistake too, but that's football.

"Hougang have changed a lot of players this season and are much better than last year, but they play very brutal.

"I think Ivan has to go for an operation tomorrow, he had many elbows (thrown at him)," said Simunic.

Bosnjak did enter the second-half with his head bandaged, but that was no excuse for the team's inability to sustain pressure and hold the ball when it mattered the most.

Their spurned chances in front of goal Moreira shot straight at Fadhil after Shahrazen put him through on goal in the third minute was also another problem Simunic will want to rectify during training.

It was only fitting that Shahrazen, DPMM FC's top scorer with 14 goals last campaign, would score their first goal of the season after DPMM FC's opener against Home United ended 0-0 last Thursday.

Captain Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis' 27th minute free-kick from the left was met with a header at the far post from Croatian defender Dino Drpic, who sent the ball back across the goal to Shahrazen who rose the higest in a packed Hougang box.

Shahrazen was just as effective at the other end of the pitch, clearing a 35th minute free-kick from Syaqir to safety.

Mamadou Diallo, who was a burst of fresh air for Hougang down the middle, shrugged off midfielder Stephan Auvray in the 42nd minute after another surging run and laid the ball off to Liam Shotton on the left who cut past defender Pg Sallehuddin Pg Hj Damit and curled the ball beyond Wardun Yussof.

Simunic's half-time team talk seemed to have worked because DPMM FC came out a different animal in the second half, pressing in numbers and looking hungry for the ball.

However, it was some direct, no-nonsense football that led to the team getting in front 10 minutes after the restart.

Drpic launched a goal-kick well into the Hougang half in the 55th minute, Shahrazen held the ball up outside the box and laid it off to Moreira, who looked to have skewed his chance after a heavy touch led him away from goal though he quickly composed himself and chipped over Fadhil.

Rosmin's corner just past the hour-mark was met by a well-timed glancing header from Shahrazen, but the two-goal cushion was short-lived.

Diallo unleashed an unstoppable free-kick in the 64th minute after being fouled by Auvray, the cannonball to the top-left corner setting up a nervy end to the game.

Auvray redeemed himself by unselfishly squaring the ball for Bosnjak in the 70th minute after some good build-up play from Moreira, but Bosnjak's shot was heroically cleared off the line by Syaqir who collided with the post in the process.

Thomas Beattie bundled Bosnjak's attempt in the box in the 75th minute but Fadhil's save denied Shahrazen a third goal.

Poor marking after an Azhar Sairudin free-kick saw Syaqir head home an equaliser two minutes later, and though the home fans thought Bosnjak who played for his country at the 2006 World Cup would not miss his 80th minute penalty, Fadhil was up to the task once again.

Ravisanthiran should have given the hosts another chance at the line after Moreira was brought down in the 86th minute, but as Simunic said, "That's football."

The Brunei Times

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