Singapore Premier League • May 23, 2014
Warriors Earn Vital Win To Close Gap On DPMM
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Warriors FC asserted their credentials as title contenders after besting league leaders Brunei DPMM in a narrow 1-0 win at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Thursday evening.
The win, courtesy of Hafiz Rahim’s third goal of the season, reduced the gap between Warriors and DPMM to a mere four points.
Earning himself a freekick on the edge of the area, the 30-year-old dusted himself to curl the ball beyond Wardun Yussof as it went in off the post for the game’s only goal.
The result also saw DPMM’s winning run come to an end as they slumped to their first defeat in seven games.
While DPMM named an unchanged line-up, Warriors coach Alex Weaver made a sole change as he handed Prime League winger Suria Prakash his first S.League start in place of the injured Thomas Beattie.
Suria who played on the left wing, showed glimpses of brilliance early on as he created the first chance of note in the ninth minute.
Racing past Subhi Abdilah, Suria’s low cross found Nicolas Velez in the box whose effort was blocked by Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman.
Warriors goalkeeper Hassan Sunny then had some work to do as he first thwarted Roy O’Donovan in an one-on-one on 13 minutes before parrying Roberto Alviz’s ferocious freekick at full-stretch a minute later.
However, the home side would assume the lead and deservedly so in the 22nd minute as Hafiz scored in almost similar fashion to his strike against Geylang International earlier in February and this proved enough to be the winning goal.
The home side went on to dominate the remainder of the half and created numerous goal-scoring opportunities but were unable to add on to their lead while DPMM were still finding the Warriors defence – led by skipper Daniel Bennett and Marin Vidosevic – a tough nut to crack.
Velez came closest a minute before half-time after getting onto the end of Kevin McCann’s cross as he sent a header towards goal which Wardun fumbled but managed to claw out to safety.
Trailing by a goal at the break, the visitors were determined to find an equaliser and they nearly did so in the 54th minute but Hassan produced yet another stupendous save to keep out Azwan Ali’s fierce shot inside the penalty area
Hafiz almost added to his tally for the evening on 69 minutes but Wardun was equal to the task and kept out his half-volley to keep his side in the game.
The Wasps huffed and puffed in the closing stages but were unable to blow the house down as they fell to their second defeat this season with the first coming against Tampines Rovers in Bandar Seri Begawan.