DPMM FC are hoping to return to winning ways against Home United FC side in the Singapore Premier League at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore tonight.
The ‘Gegar Gegar’ men missed the chance to go second after the Young Lions drew in their last league appearance but could leapfrog Balestier Khalsa, who play on Sunday.
The Brunei-based outfit are facing the AFC Cup Asean Zone finalists who recently stunned Indonesian giants Persija Jakarta over two legs for a second time this season.
However, the Protectors have undergone a rough patch in the league having only managed two wins in seven matches and are also in search of a win in three appearances.
DPMM FC will be looking to exploit their back-line who alongside Geylang International FC have the worst defence in the league after shipping 20 goals.
Both sides have met earlier this season with DPMM FC enjoying a home win and it is no surprise that they will be looking for a repeat of such performance.
DPMM FC centre back Brian McLean will be hoping to give them a good fight as they did earlier this season during the six-goal thriller.
“It was a fair result (1-1 against Young Lions), we didn’t really create enough opportunities for ourselves to score,” McLean told the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) website.
“We are the masters of complicating things instead of doing the simple things well. Now we just need to focus on the recovery and get our mentality right for this tough, tough game.”
The Brunei side have a tough run of games which also includes a clash against table toppers Albirex Niigata (S) next Sunday.
“We are in the midst of a tough run of away games, but you can’t use it as a negative because that’s the fixtures. No doubt Home are a quality team and that’s why they’re in the AFC Cup Zonal final,” said the former Hibernian man.
“But it’s up to us to replicate the way we played against them at home earlier in the season and give them a good fight,” he added.
DPMM FC will have to buck the trend at the Bishan Stadium having not won in regulation time in their last six visits since their return to the Singapore Premier League in 2012.
However, Rene Weber’s charges are unbeaten in their last four matches and have clawed their way back from falling behind on three separate occasions.
The 22-year wait for Brunei Darussalam to return to the AFF Suzuki Cup is literally a generation worth of heartbreak for a nation who could well lean on a core group of players to guide them through qualification who weren’t even born the last time they featured in the finals.
Indeed since participating in the inaugural edition way back in 1996, the Wasps have failed to get back to the tournament proper and the national coach, Stephen Ng, knows just how important it will be for Brunei to do so this time around.
“Qualifying for the finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup is important for Brunei in our development program as it will help to motivate more young players to work harder and for them to look forward to playing against teams at the top level of ASEAN football.
“Football is still the most popular sport in Brunei and it will definitely help bring people together in the nation to cheer for the country if we qualify once again for the tournament proper.”
To do so Brunei will need to see off an equally ambitious Timor-Leste outfit that have also only once before reached the finals but Ng is confident that some strong recent showings against the Timorese will hold them in good stead come September’s home and away matches.
“If you look at the latest FIFA rankings (Timor are 190 & Brunei Darussalam are 194) then you can consider that we are probably on a similar playing level and while we will continue to work hard to prepare we can draw confidence from two recent victories over them in the Solidarity Cup and the last round of Suzuki Cup qualification in 2016.”
“I’m sure it will be a very close game this time around as we need to manage qualification over the two home and away legs but we’re looking forward to qualifying.”
Ng will likely rely on several of the nation’s impressive young talents to complete that task and some solid showings at youth level have fortified the coach’s belief that the nation is on the right track, especially after the U16 squad knocked over both Macau and Hong Kong in last year’s AFC U16 Championships.
“Brunei has done well with young players in recent years and we want that to continue so we can strengthen the senior team with continuous youth development that flows from one level to the next.”
DPMM FC denied Warriors FC their first win of the season in the Singapore Premier League after recovering from two goals down to draw 2-2 at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore last night.
Warriors, who were in search of their first league victory, scored in succession as a goal each from Kento Fukuda and Sahil Suhaimi was separated only by a minute from each other.
The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute as Volodymyr Pryyomov reduced the deficit for his fifth goal of the season.
The in-form Ukrainian found his second goal of the game to consolidate his position at the top of the scoring charts with six goals to his name.
The result cemented the ‘Gegar Gegar’ men in fourth place with seven points, eight points off the pace of league leaders Albirex Niigata (S), who had played a game more.
Suria Prakash, who came through the professional ranks of Balestier Khalsa, was one of the focal men in attack and his skillful touches drew DPMM FC players into committing a foul.
From the ensuing free-kick, Warriors striker Jonathan Behe, who was installed to the starting line-up could not get a header as DPMM FC put the ball to safety.
Sahil had quite an eventful half after getting himself in the books on top of scoring a goal and providing an assist after denying Mojtaba Esmaielzadeh the opportunity to break away.
DPMM FC forward Volodymyr made a lovely turn and pulled a good strike but it was a good height for Warriors goalkeeper to make the save.
The front three combined well with Adi Said the centre of their promising attacking play but Mojtaba blazed wide after he was unsettled by a Warriors defender.
Sahil shifted with the ball with his right leg enabling the DPMM FC defence to close him down and were unable to get the right shot away.
The counterattack nearly caught Warriors out cold after they stole possession as Volodymyr teed off his teammate but was crowded out by the hosts.
DPMM FC midfielder Azwan Salleh cushioned a header for Volodymyr who was closely marked before Azwan Ali Rahman fired the ball wide after arriving in time for the shot.
Adi Said was in a heap after Daniel Shafiq went in for a strong challenge as the Bruneian forward walked gingerly into the box.
Warriors conceded a soft free kick in promising area as Poh Yi Feng tugged Mojtaba’s shirt.
It was no surprise with the designated free-kick taker as Volodymyr, who already scored from a set-piece, struck a rasping drive which goalkeeper pushed the ball away to safety.
DPMM FC took a quick throw as the front unit combined but unfortunately one of the attackers could not find a touch to guide the ball into goal.
It was bad news for Kento Fukuda who suffered an injury setback and was stretchered off the field with Hafiz Sulaiman coming on as his replacement.
With the visitors dictating the tempo of the match, Behe did his defensive duties with a strong header as the hosts got the ball out of their half.
Warriors were closing ranks well and looking the runs of Behe who worked tirelessly on his own upfront.
However, the forward made a silly foul and invited more pressure for DPMM FC as they continued to build play though they had not been able to get things right in the final third.
Warriors had a respite after Hendra Azam switched play to Adi Said who was in an offside position. The home side had been living dangerously giving the ball away but DPMM FC were not able to capitalize from their mistakes.
With Warriors threatening a fast counter, Abdul Aziz Tamit demonstrated his reading abilities after coming first to the ball and putting the ball out for a throw.
Volodymyr punished the Warriors after he was allowed space and time to power the ball home after being set up by Adi Said.
Helmi Zambin tested goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar with a firm strike from outside the box but it landed straight at his arms.
Azwan Ali dinked the ball forward as Volodymyr sent his header wide in a quick build-up which also involved Helmi Zambin and Adi Said.
Helmi Zambin was given a final warning by the referee after downing Suria who showed nifty footwork.
Shamil Sharif’s free-kick then rattled against the woodwork with Haimie Anak Nyaring in full stretch.
Behe initiated a good team move with a neat touch allowing Ho Wai Loon through before switching the ball to Firdaus Kasman who crossed into the middle only for the visitors to diffuse the threat with a defensive header.
Warriors had a good chance after a player flicked the ball in the near post wide following another decent delivery by Shamil Sharif.
Behe evaded the challenges of Abdul Aziz and Brian McLean before firing his shot wide before creating another chance for himself though it was a weaker shot.
Suria delivered a ball into the far post but it was not a desired finish for his teammate who attempted an ambitious acrobatic kick.
BRUNEI Darussalam National Under-21 team crashed out of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy for Asean Youth Football Tournament 2018 after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Myanmar in the final Group ‘A’ game at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium last night.
The young Tabuan’s exit from the competition drew parallels to the 2014 edition when they lost out on the competition by a single goal as a late leveller would have put them through.
Myanmar have been confirmed as group winners while Timor Leste took the runners-up spot while Singapore and Cambodia qualified from Group ‘B’ after the Angkor Warriors pulled off a 1-0 win they needed to advance.
The young Tabuan would have gone through with a win and they actually had the ball behind enemy lines as forward Faiq Jefri Bolkiah tried to lift the ball over a defender but there was no further harm since.
The hosts had to stay alert after Myanmar forward Zin Min Tun attacked the ball and rose high for a header but he was unsettled by the home defence.
The host nation avoided a scare after Muhammad Abdul Syakir misplaced his pass to the opposition midfielder Soe Lwin Lwin but fortunately the latter took a heavy touch.
Myanmar had a goal ruled out for offside but there was nothing wrong about their opener when they finally took the lead in the 35th minute.
The visiting forward Aung Kaung Mann released his shot which Brunei goalkeeper Ishyra Asmin Jabidi parried away only to the path of Zin who slammed his shot for the opening goal of the game.
The goal silenced the crowd and it nearly got worse after a free-kick from forward Lwin Moe Aung was deflected into the top corner which Ishyra pushed away for a corner.
Myanmar’s forward Aung Kaung then headed wide in the opening stages of the second half.
The visitors survived a scare after Than Htike Zin allowed the ball to roll into the path of Brunei forward Faiq Jefri Bolkiah but the latter could only hit his shot straight at the largely untroubled Myanmar goalkeeper Phone Thitsar Min.
The hosts were counting their lucky stars as Soe Lwin Lwin skied his effort wide after being played through though from a tight angle.
Myanmar substitute Pyae Sone Naing unleashed a fine drive from the edge of the box but it ended wide.
The Yadanarbon FC midfielder had another chance when his shot deflected off a Bruneian defender for another corner.