07 April 2013

DPMM FC to battle for third tonight

Sunday, April 7, 2013
DPMM FC face Tanjong Pagar United FC in a fight for third in the Singapore League tonight.

Third-placed Tanjong Pagar lead last season's S-League runners up on goal difference, and a win will guarantee that the hosts end the match at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas ahead of the Jaguars in the 12-team table.

DPMM FC, who are playing their third game in the space of a week after their 1-0 win over Woodlands Wellington FC last Sunday and their 4-2 result against Geylang International FC on Tuesday, admit that the hectic schedule will play a part in tonight's proceedings.

Though DPMM FC have won all of their three past encounters against Tanjong Pagar, the hosts know they can't rest on their laurels.

"We need to be clever because it's not easy to recover after playing three games in a week," noted DPMM FC left-back Sairol Hj Sahari (pic).

"We should just play our game and keep the momentum going," he added.

Striker Shahrazen Said, who has scored three times in the team's last three encounters with Tanjong Pagar, mirrored Sairol's comments.

"Like in the previous matches, we must keep our focus and concentrate (on maintaining) our stamina and fitness because we will be playing three games in almost one week," said Shahrazen.

DPMM FC's top scorer with 13 goals last season, Shahrazen netted a brace in their 3-2 home win in the S-League on April 13 and opened the scoring in their 3-0 victory at the Queeenstown Stadium in Singapore on Sept 23.

Hj Muhd Subhi Abdillah Hj Bakir scored the only goal when the two teams met in the group stage of last year's Singapore League Cup on July 29, a competition DPMM FC would go on to win for the second time after beating Geylang 2-0.

Despite Shahrazen's consistently strong showing over the years, it has been Joao Vitor Rocha De Carvalho Moreira stealing the limelight as of late the Portuguese striker finally coming good after a slow start to the season by scoring three goals in the last two matches, bringing his season tally to four.

Moreira scored the winner against Woodlands and a brace against Geylang, but he is not the only foreign striker making an impact in the league this season.

Tanjong Pagar have ex-Morocco international Monsef Zerka, a veteran of the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 with AS Nancy and FC Nantes, who currently shares the lead atop the S-League goals chart with Geylang's Jozef Kaplan both who have five.

Frenchmen Ishmael Benahmed and Kamel Ramdani will add to the attacking threat, as will former Singaporean international Ahmad Latiff Khamaruddin a veteran forward the DPMM FC team know all too well about.

French defender Anthony Aymard is an injury concern heading into the match, and with captain Hafiz Osman out with a left tendon injury for the whole season, vice-captain Walid Lounis will once again deputise in his place the Tunisian-born Singaporean sure to be a steadying presence in defence for the visitors.

Despite tonight's game being billed as a battle for third, Tanjong Pagar's coach insists he is not placing any additional importance on it.

"For me each game is a big game and I don't care about the league position," claimed Patrick Vallee, who guided French side Etoile FC to the S-League title and League Cup in their debut in 2010.

"I know it will be a tough game because Brunei haven't lost at home this season, so any point we get out of this will be good.

"They're a better team than us... They're fighting for the title, we aren't. We have to be humble.

"It's difficult to pick one player but they have two good strikers in Moreira and Shahrazen," he said when pressed on who his team would be watching out for.

"They're a good team and we must watch out for all 11 players... Maybe 12 if you include their coach (Vjeran Simunic)... And 13 if you include the crowd," joked the Frenchman.

The Brunei Times

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