Singapore Cup • September 26, 2018

Azwan Ali stunner helps DPMM punish wasteful Balestier in Singapore Cup semi


The midfielder’s sweet curler sealed a 2-0 win ahead of next week’s second leg

Volodymyr Priyomov (second from right) celebrates after putting DPMM in front.

SINGAPORE, 26 SEP 2018 – Brunei DPMM FC took a giant step towards the 2018 RHB Singapore Cup final after a first-leg 2-0 win over Balestier Khalsa FC at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Volodymyr Priyomov scored a debatable penalty to open the scoring before Azwan Ali Rahman struck a wonderful effort to seal victory for the visitors, who are hunting their first triumph in this tournament.

Balestier will feel hard done by the result as they had dictated play for most of the game until the spot-kick was awarded in the 68th minute.

The Tigers were remarkably composed in the opening stages of the game but they failed to capitalise on some gilt-edged chances.

Keegan Linderboom failed to get the best of Haimie Nyaring after being played through by Hazzuwan Halim in the 11th minute, while the latter followed up with a tame effort just moments later.

Another chance went begging by in the 26th minute after Huzaifah Aziz drove down the flank and his cut-back found Hazzuwan in the box, but Haimie stood firm with a good save.

Linderboom will then wonder how he failed to score in the 33rd minute. Haimie fluffed his clearance towards Huzaifah and the midfielder cleverly played Linderboom through, only for the striker’s low effort to crash off the right post.

The New Zealander continued to endure a torrid night, missing twice from close range after meeting superb deliveries by Huzaifah in the 35th and 53rd minute respectively.

The turning point of the game would arrive when Nurullah Hussein was adjudged to have handled Brian McLean’s cross and Priyomov duly converted the resulting spot-kick.

If the first goal came in a debatable manner, there was nothing Balestier could complain about for the second.

After failing to clear their lines, the ball fell to Shah Razen Said and he set up Azwan Ali to curl a stunning strike into the top left corner from 25 yards.

Balestier will now have a mountain to climb when both teams face off again in the second leg on 3 October at Toa Payoh Stadium.

DPMM Team Manager Hj Ali Momin: “Balestier are a good team, only their finishing was poor (tonight); if they scored a goal in the first half, maybe it would have been a different situation.

“For the first half, we were not doing well and I don’t know what happened to our players. In the second half, we started to attack more after putting one more striker in the middle and that helped us to score.

“Balestier were playing well, they got to the second ball faster than us and our players seemed to be second for everything and that’s how Balestier attacked us. But luckily, their finishing was not on point and it was good for us.

“For us, 2-0 is enough for the second leg. It’s not much but it’s good to have a two-goal lead in the pocket, so if we are not doing well… it’s enough for us.”

Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “I am very disappointed with the score tonight. The boys worked hard, we made chances and we should be ahead, very clearly, but we made mistakes and this happens in football.

“We wanted to attack, we wanted to win the game – we did not come here to wait for the second game and the boys did a great job. Only, (we made) one mistake and our opponents punished us… we had many clear chances to go ahead. DPMM were second-best for almost everything.

“Of course, when you are playing well and then you concede a soft penalty, everything changes.

“We never say die, we are going to Toa Payoh Stadium, we are going to score one goal and then step by step we will get there, but we need to keep a clean sheet.

“I am very confident (that) the chances we missed, we will score them next Wednesday.”

DPMM: Haimie Nyaring (GK), Brian McLean, Azwan Saleh, Azwan Ali (Abdul Azizi Rahman 81’), Volodymyr Priyomov, Suhaimi Sulau, Helmi Zembin, Nurikhwan Othman, Adi Said (Najib Tarif 89’), Abdul Aziz Tamit, Shah Razen Said (C).
Unused subs: Wardun Yussof (GK), Abdul Mu’iz Sisa, Hendra Azam, Abdul Hariz Herman, Hanif Hamir.

Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Shaqi Sulaiman, Khalili Khalif, Nurullah Hussein, Hazzuwan Halim, Huzaifah Aziz, Fariz Faizal (Zakir Samsudin 61’(Afiq Salman Tan 87’)), Ahmad Syahir, Keegan Linderboom, Sanjin Vrebac (Akbar Shah Zainudeen 81’).
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Nurisham Jupri, Nazri Sabri, Noor Akid Nordin.