Singapore Cup • July 1, 2014
O’Donovan Strikes To Seal Last-Gasp Win
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Brunei DPMM put one foot into the semi-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup after a last-gasp 4-3 victory over Albirex Niigata (S) in their first leg tie at Jurong East Stadium on Sunday evening.
Roy O’Donovan was the hero for the night for the Wasps as he struck the winner at the end of regulation time to give his side the slight advantage going into the return leg on Friday.
Prior to that though, Kazuya Okazaki, Keisuke Ota and Kazuki Sakamoto had managed to cancel out early strikes from DPMM’s Roberto Alviz, O’Donovan and Rodrigo Tosi.
It was Steve Kean’s side who dominated proceedings from the start as they drew first blood after just five minutes when Alviz curled an unstoppable finish past Albirex custodian Kenjiro Ogino.
DPMM then doubled their lead a mere two minutes later as O’Donovan capitalised on a napping Albirex defence to hit a first-time half-volley into Ogino’s bottom corner.
Awangku Fakharazzi had an effort ruled out for offside on 11 minutes before Sakamoto contrived to put the ball wide at the other end moments later.
Tosi made it three goals to the good for DPMM in the 17th minute. Catching Ogino off his line, the Brazilian proceeded to chip a sweet left-footed shot which sailed over the stranded goalkeeper.
Ota then saw his ferocious effort crash off the bar in the 34th minute but Okazaki would reduce the deficit shortly after as the Albirex playmaker rose highest to nod home Itsuki Yamada’s cross.
Albirex came out of the break determined to find a way back into the game and came out with all guns blazing.
They nearly made it 3-2 five minutes after the restart but Ota and Nagasaki were denied by the upright and DPMM goalkeeper Wardun Yussof respectively.
However, it did not take long for them to do so as they did in the 56th minute when Ota latched onto Sakamoto’s though pass and calmly stroked the ball past an onrushing Wardun.
Just seven minutes later, the scores were level. After the DPMM defence failed to clear their lines from a corner, Albirex forward Sakamoto was on hand to fire the loose ball home at the far post for 3-3.
Sakamoto and Kento Nagasaki came close in the closing stages but could not find the net and were eventually made to pay as O’Donovan popped up with the all-important goal.
Surging down the right and past a static Albirex defence, the former Sunderland forward then drilled a powerful finish beyond the despair dive of Ogino to seal victory and hand DPMM with a slender one-goal lead for the second leg.