21 November 2015

DPMM FC eyeing first S-League title tonight

Saturday, November 21, 2015

DPMM FC are using last season’s heartbreak as the extra push to win the Singapore League (S-League) title for the first time when they host Balestier Khalsa FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas at 8.15pm in their season-ender tonight.
The side suffered the biggest slip up the league has ever seen last year after they were unable to take advantage of their eight-point lead at the top of the table going into the final round.
They finished runners-up after losing five of their last seven games - including a 2-0 loss to Tampines Rovers FC in a must-win match on the final day, allowing Warriors FC to claim the title.
Title contenders Tampines Rovers FC, who are only two points behind DPMM FC, will kick off against Harimau Muda (Malaysia national Under-22 football team) at the same time at the Jurong West Stadium in Singapore, and only victory will suffice for the five-time S-League champions if they are to make it title number six tonight.
Winning by a two-goal margin will see them lift the trophy should DPMM FC be held to a draw.
“When you have been so disappointed, you have to carry that the whole close season. It is a horrible feeling,” said DPMM FC coach Steve Kean after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium yesterday.
“I hope that provides the extra little bit of motivation to make sure that this year we finish and enjoy the close season.
“We are hungry and ready. There is a real appetite to win this game,” continued Kean.
The 2012 title race went down the wire as well – and there was disappointment for DPMM FC who ended second to Tampines after dropping 2-0 to Balestier in a must-win game for them on home soil, with the Stags winning the trophy after skipper Fahrudin Mustafic converted a panelty to give them a 1-0 win over Harimau Muda.
DPMM FC are up for a difficult task tonight as Balestier are the only side to have beaten DPMM FC both home and away so far this season. The Tigers inflicted the first defeat on DPMM FC with a 2-1 victory on May 1 and won by the same scoreline in their second encounter on August 29.
DPMM FC last defeated the Tigers in April last year when they won 4-1 on home soil. DPMM FC are coming off a two-week break with their last match on Nov 6 - a 3-1 victory over Warriors.
Kean knows what to expect from Balestier and hopes his charges can deliver.
“It is not a case where Balestier will come here to play any different to what has been successful for them,” said the Scotsman.
“We know they are going to be direct, aggressive and physical - but what we must focus on is to be patient with the ball.
“We want to dominate possession and make sure that for the majority of each half, we have more possession - which means we deal with fewer long ball and set plays,” added the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
“It is about us that we can play at our maximum… Pass the ball, keep the ball and create chances.
“When our front three of (Rafael) Ramazotti, (Paulo) Sergio and Azwan Ali (Rahman), I don’t think there is more a potent threat in the league. It is about getting the ball to them with quality, and not just smashing it so that they can finish,” continued the 48-year-old.
On the other hand, Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic is aiming for a top-three finish ahead of Albirex Niigata (S) FC.
“Our main priority is a top-three finish. It is a good achievement if we can do it,” Kraljevic told The Brunei Times yesterday.
“If before the season started I knew I we would finish in the top-three, I would be very happy. We’re close to it.
“There is a good chance for us as the boys are in good fighting spirit. Teamwork has also been a big part of our success and that ifs what has got us to where we are.
“We have to watch out for Azwan Ali, Paulo and Rafa… their key players in attacking.

“They are also dangerous in their set pieces with (Boris) Raspudic and (Brian) McLean coming forward. We will have to be careful against them.
“We have beaten them two times this season and they are within their first title. There is a lot of pressure on them.
“But no team can come here being confident. DPMM FC are top of the table and they have got the advantage,” added the Croatian.
Kick off is at 8.15pm and entrance is free of charge. Free t-shirts will also be handed out on a first come, first serve basis while stocks last.
The Brunei Times

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