Singapore Premier League • May 15, 2014
Kean: We Passed Our Toughest Test So Far
Written by: Zack Rahim
Brunei DPMM coach Steve Kean had no doubt in his mind that Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Albirex Niigata (S) FC was their sternest test of the year.
Down 1-0 after an Itsuki Yamada goal in the 53rd minute, Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders DPMM showed character by equalising three minutes later through Roy O’ Donovan, who was then brought down in the box – which led to Rodrigo Tosi giving the hosts a 72nd minute lead.
“I thought that was our toughest match of the year, home or away,” said Kean after the team secured their seventh straight win.
“The first half was very difficult.
“Their 4-4-2 formation caught us off guard so in the second half we changed from three in midfield to our usual 4-2-3-1… And grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
“But instead, they played a 4-4-2 formation, and it really caught us off guard. We changed our formation basically, that’s why in the first half we looked a bit unstable.
“We went down one goal but showed true character to get back and win the game,” he added after the game at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Brunei.
Though the visitors’ goal came when the ball bounced goal-wards after hitting a DPMM defender’s leg, allowing Yamada to rush through on goal and score, Kean refused to point fingers.
“I didn’t really see who the ball bounced off,” claimed the Scotsman.
“But anyone can make mistakes and we need to make sure our team ethic makes up for that (individual mistake),” he added.
The visitors headed into the match without the services of injured Shuhei Hotta, a midfielder turned central defender who has been a key part of Albirex’s back line.
Albirex’s coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama, though said that the absence of DPMM’s suspended Croatian centre back Boris Raspudic evened the scores out in that department.
“We missed Hotta, but they had a player out so…. So it was like the same,” noted Okuyama.
“DPMM have a lot of good players like number 10, number 18 (Tosi and O’Donovan)… And when the team started to use long balls, it was hard for us to stop them,” he added though a translator.