Singapore Premier League • May 15, 2014

DPMM Relentless In Title Bid


Written by: Zack Rahim

Brunei DPMM have opened what could possibly be an insurmountable lead atop the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League on Friday night, after beating Albirex Niigata (S) FC 2-1 to move 10 points ahead of nearest rivals Warriors FC with their seventh win in a row.

The usual suspects were on the scoresheet for the Bruneians once again, with Rodrigo Tosi and Roy O’Donovan now with 12 and 11 goals respectively – the former still leading the league.

DPMM coach Steve Kean has effectively moulded a balanced team during the half year he has been at the club – not only do they lead the league in goals with 32 from 12 games, they also have the stingiest defence after allowing a measly six goals.

A win for Albirex would have seen them leapfrog Home United FC, Tampines Rovers FC and Warriors FC to second, but their second half performance – where a more attacking minded DPMM emerged from the dressing room – meant the Japanese had to be content with staying fifth.

Still, the game proved to be DPMM’s toughest game of the year.

The Japanese almost got ahead in the 17th minute during a one-on-one only for Kosuke Matsuda to see  his shot saved by Wardun Yussof at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Brunei.

Roberto Alvix was denied by the post a minute later, and on the other end of the field, Albirex had a double-chance when Taiyo Nishida’s header off a corner was saved and the ensuing attempt hit the side netting.

Albirex glovesman Kazuki Kishigami had to be at his best in the 42nd minute to keep O’Donovan out after he found space following a one-two with Tosi.

The Japanese side – who impressed with their one-two passing – took the lead in the 53rd minute when skipper Itsuki Yamada latched onto a deflected pass at the edge of the box to slot home from close-range.

However, DPMM were level three minutes later when O’Donovan stole the ball off Yamada on the right and ran into the heart of Albirex’s defence before lashing in a fine shot which hit the top left corner.

DPMM were starting to pose problems with their penetration and when O’Donovan was felled inside the box when sandwiched by Taiyo Nishida and Soichiro Tanaka – the latter who appeared to tug O’ Donovan down – referee Sukhbir Singh wasted no time in pointing to the spot, with Tosi’s calm shot sending the fans into fits of frenzy.

The visitors could have ended with a share of the spoils when DPMM’s Azwan Salleh brought down Ota in the box, but Sukhbir Singh was not in the mood for Albirex’s protests.