Singapore Premier League • September 18, 2014
Home’s Win Sets Stage For Exciting Finale
Written by: Zack Rahim
Home United punished some lax defending on set-pieces by Brunei DPMM to shock the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders 2-1 on Thursday night, setting the stage for an enthralling finale to the season.
In a game Home’s coach Lee Lim Saeng billed as “must-win” if they were to maintain their title hopes, the visitors did just that by storming back from a goal down with headers off corners from Song Inyoung in the 79th minute and Kwon Dakyung just before the final whistle – ensuring they return to Singapore with wins in both meetings in Brunei.
With only four games left to play, Brunei DPMM’s lead at the top of the table over second-placed Warriors FC is still five points – though that can be cut to two when the Warriors take on Balestier Khalsa FC on Oct 1.
DPMM and Home will meet each other again next Tuesday and Friday in the RHB Singapore Cup semi-finals, and judging by last night’s display, both showdowns will be cagey affairs.
Steve Kean’s charges controlled the opening period at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Bandar Seri Begawan but failed to convert their chances into goals, which they eventually paid the price for.
They finally got on the scoresheet when the league’s top scorer, Rodrigo Tosi, bagged his 22nd goal of the season with a 76th minute header at the far post after connecting on a cross-field pass from Azwan Salleh.
But it was 1-1 three minutes later when Song jumped above a sea of heads to power home a Sirina Camara corner – the goal nothing less than the Protectors deserved.
DPMM striker Roy O’Donovan produced a shot that stung Shahril Jantan’s gloves soon after, but it was the visitors who would edge in front with Kwon’s glancing header off an Indra Sahdan corner.
Indra forced the corner after testing DPMM goalkeeper Wardun Yussof and wasted no time in running to the corner flag for the kick, with Kwon’s goal from a tight angle exposing the hosts’ poor communication on set-pieces on the night.
DPMM’s Azwan Ali Rahman could have forced a stalemate when the ball found its way to him in the dying seconds, though the midfielder wasted the golden opportunity with a wild shot over the bar.
Adi Said could have given DPMM the lead in the 12th minute but Shahril dove well to his left to keep out the shot, with the striker also missing another chance to break the deadlock in the 37th minute when forcing Shahril into an excellent diving save after the goalkeeper’s botched clearance fell invitingly to him.
Home’s best chance of the half fell to Qiu Li, who forced Wardun into a point-blank save just before the break.
Home were defending in numbers in the second half and their stubborn resistance frustrated DPMM until Tosi’s header.
Ultimately, though, all of DPMM’s hard work in the days leading up to the match was undone by two unmarked headers – and that just might come back to bite them come the end of the season.