Singapore Premier League • April 12, 2014

Razip Relieved Despite Heavy Defeat


Written by: Zack Rahim

Razip Ismail was thanking his lucky stars after coming away from the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Brunei with only a 5-0 loss to a Brunei DPMM side bristling with energy on Friday night.

The Harimau Muda coach saw his team play second fiddle to DPMM for the whole match, and after letting in a third minute goal, would fall back 3-0 at the break.

Bottom of the 12-team table, the Under-21 side had more misery piled onto them after ending the match with 10 men when Azrun Nizam Muhammad was shown a straight red after colliding with DPMM’s Irish striker Roy O’ Donovan inside the box.

“We’re very lucky not to have conceded more,” said the Harimau Muda coach.

“We tried to come back in the second half but it was difficult for us going up against these very good and tough opponents, especially with 10 men in the second half.

“I’m not too sure about the red card but I think it was too harsh.

“Our players lack experience and understanding. Ninety per cent of them are new and DPMM were too much for us.

“DPMM were positive in their play and we couldn’t cope with their pace,” added Razip.

Steve Kean, meanwhile, was pleased that his tactics paid off.

Though Tampines Rovers can overthrow DPMM from the top when they face Balestier Khalsa on Sunday, the DPMM coach said the win was crucial to “keep the pressure” on the Stags.

The Scotsman shared that the win, which came after a 6-1 thrashing of Young Lions last Sunday, has boosted the team’s confidence – and he was especially happy with the fact the hosts kept a clean sheet.

“We played with short passes and with Roy and Rodrigo (Tosi) closing the ball down, and we also wanted to focus on keeping the ball moving and try play the simple option,” he explained.

“We wanted to press them up the pitch and try to get an early goal – which we did – and also tried to get the ball down one flank and then switch play.

“This game was something different considering where our opponents are in the table, but we respected them and needed to be very professional.

“We are now in a confident mood (after scoring so many goals) and it’s also important we only let in one goal over the last two games.”