Singapore Premier League • October 29, 2014

DPMM A Step Closer To Championship


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

It is Brunei DPMM’s title to lose now, after their slim 1-0 victory over Albirex Niigata (S) at the Jurong East Stadium on Tuesday evening.

This result moved them to the top of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League standings on goal difference and they just have to equal Warriors FC’s result on Friday to win their maiden S.League title.

In a repeat of their opening round encounter, Adi Said’s 61st-minute strike proved to be an all-important one as it ensured Steve Kean’s side three points while managing to stay unbeaten against the hosts in five games in all competitions this season.

It was an end-to-end game with both teams having their chances to score, but it was DPMM who almost took the lead as Roy O’Donovan flashed a shot narrowly wide mere seconds after kickoff.

Albirex then carved out their first opening of the evening on six minutes when Norihiro Kawakami connected with a corner from the left but his downward header was smothered by DPMM custodian Azman Ilham on the line.

At the other end, Adi squandered two opportunities in quick succession as he first ballooned a shot over four minutes later before drilling one inches wide at the near post off Azwan Ali’s low cross in the 15th minute.

The Wasps had the ball in the net in the 24th minute but it was disallowed by referee Sukhbir Singh after Rodrigo Tosi was adjudged to have fouled an Albirex player in the build-up to the goal.

The White Swans finished the half strongly and could have gotten their noses in front minutes before the break.

Azman had to be called into action to gather Kazuki Sakamoto’s deflected effort from the edge of the penalty area in the 41st minute before pulling off a fine save to deny Itsuki Yamada from a tight angle moments later.

After the restart, an error from the Albirex defence nearly resulted in a DPMM goal in the 49th minute but O’Donovan contrived to shoot straight at Ogino instead.

The breakthrough though, finally came shortly after the hour mark as O’Donovan turned provider, finding space down the left to cross the ball for Adi to send a looping header over a hapless Ogino for a lead they never relinquished.

Albirex tried to find a way back after falling behind but apart from a Keisuke Ota effort which was well-saved by Azman ten minutes from the end, they pretty much failed to breach a watertight DPMM defence who saw out the game and dashed Albirex’s title hopes.

There was however late drama as O’Donovan was dismissed with seconds remaining for a direct red card, which rules the Irish out of his side’s final game against Tampines Rovers.