Singapore Premier League • October 26, 2014

Gutsy Tigers Hold DPMM At Bay


Written By: Zack Rahim

If they are to lose the Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League title, Brunei DPMM might very well look back on Saturday night’s 1-1 draw against Balestier Khalsa FC as a turning point in their season.

A win would have put them one point behind leaders Warriors FC, but ultimately, a defensive error from makeshift centre-back Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman cost them all three points – and perhaps even the title.

All is not lost though, and wins against Albirex Niigata (S) on Tuesday and Tampines Rovers on Friday will seal them the coveted trophy for the first time.

Dominating the early periods of the game, they seemed on their way to a win after Rodrigo Tosi headed in a 18th minute opener.

However, a defensive slip-up the next minute saw Balestier score when Zulkiffli Hassim took advantage of a miscommunication between Shahrulrizal and goalkeeper Azman Ilham to squeeze between the two and equalise.

Though DPMM would control the rest of the game, they failed to find a way past Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam – who produced a key 90th minute point-blank save to keep out Roy O’Donovan’s header.

Tosi scored after he latched onto a Roberto Alviz cross from the left, but the hosts’ celebrations were short-lived though, and after the mix up between Shahrulrizal and Azman, Balestier seemed content to soak up the pressure and play on the counterattack.

A one-two between Poh Yifeng and Goran Ljubojevic saw the former shoot wide of the right post in the 31st minute, and an overhead kick by Kim Min-ho two minutes later also failed to trouble Azman.

Shahrul was taken off at the break to be replaced by Abdul Aziz Tamit, with right-back Fakharazzi Hassan also coming off for midfielder Hendra Azam.

Tosi had a 53rd minute header which went across the face off the goal before a key talking point in the 70th minute when DPMM claimed Balestier’s Jonathan Xu made an infringement in the box – though referee W. Ravisanthiran was unperturbed with the ensuing shouts for a penalty.

Azman dove to the ground to keep out a shot from Park Kang Jin in the 77th minute, Alviz would fashion a chance of his own in the 86th minute when a shot skidded across the face of goal before O’Donovan’s injury-time header was kept out by Zaiful.