Singapore Premier League • August 22, 2014

DPMM Pull Off Great Comeback


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Brunei DPMM showed exactly why they are top of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League currently as they fought against the odds to make a remarkable comeback in a 3-3 draw with Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh Stadium on Thursday evening.

The hosts had initially went into the break with a two-goal lead thanks to Kim Min Ho and Goran Ljubojevic, but they were pegged back by DPMM’s forwards Adi Said and Rodrigo Tosi in the following half to level matters.

The Tigers then went ahead again via Ljubojevic but DPMM just refused to buckle and it led to Tosi grabbing his second goal as well as a point for his side.

The Wasps almost broke the deadlock right after kick-off, when an inswinging corner was headed just over the bar.

But it was Balestier who opened the accounts, as Kim gave his side an early lead in the third minute.

Jonathan Xu, who was slotted into a central-midfield position, split the DPMM defence apart with a pin-point through ball which found Kim and the latter toe-poked the ball past Wardun Yussof.

Trailing by an early goal, DPMM started their quest for an equaliser as Boris Raspudic’s powerful header off a deep free-kick was palmed away by Zaiful Nizam.

The Tigers were up next with an opportunity, with Ruhaizad Ismail being inches away from finding the back of the net with a long-range shot.

The absence of talismanic striker Roy O’Donovan through suspension seemed to be costly as Tosi was struggling to create chances in the first half.

While DPMM toiled up front, they were made to suffer another setback as the Wasps conceded a second goal in the 21st minute.

Following a short corner, Syed Thaha whipped in a delightful cross for Ljubojevic to rise the highest and clinically head it to the top corner of the net.

Steve Kean’s side started to throw bodies forward in search of a goal to cut down the deficit, but the Balestier defence which included Jaslee Hatta, held tight.

Jaslee, starting in his first game of the season after recovering from a long injury could not have asked for a better start, as he constantly kept his counterpart, Azwan Ali at bay.

Azwan almost reduced Balestier’s lead when his thunderbolt hit the wrong side of the net, before Maududi Hilmi’s half-volley struck the crossbar.

The second half proved to be better for the visitors, as they responded the best of ways through substitute Adi Said.

The forward calmly headed in a floated cross from Subhi Abdilah in the 49th minute to put them back into the game.

It was DPMM from then on, as they went full throttle and successfully earned the equaliser in the 65th minute through Tosi, who looped his header off Azwan Saleh’s cross.

Just as when momentum was on DPMM’s side, Balestier regained the lead through Ljubojevic in the 70th minute, as he back-heeled Zulkiffli Hassim’s deflected shot past Zaiful.

Even though DPMM were once again left to chase the game, the visitors did not have to wait long for an equaliser as Tosi popped up with another goal only three minutes later. The Brazilian finished off from close range after his initial header was palmed away by Zaiful.

The desire to secure a win then saw tackles flying, and towards the end of the game Joe Gamble and Syed Thaha both received their marching orders for an off-the-ball incident.