DPMM FC forward Andrei Varankou tries to dribble past Albirex Niigata (S) players. – SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE
BY Fadhil Yunus
DPMM FC maintained their unbeaten start in the AIA Singapore Premier League after holding Albirex Niigata (S) to a goalless draw at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore last night (Friday).
The Gegar Gegar men climbed to the top of the Singapore Premier League for at least 24 hours with seven points after three matches and it is also their third clean sheet this season.
DPMM FC had to play with ten men for more than half an hour after fullback Najib Tarif was sent off for a second bookable offence.
It is the first time in 94 matches that Albirex Niigata (S) have not scored in successive matches though they kept their unbeaten record at the Jurong East Stadium.
The visitors wasted little time to underline their attacking threat after Hendra Azam attempted a speculative effort from the centre circle during kick-off, which ended in Albirex shot-stopper Kengo Fukudome making a routine save.
The hosts came close to open the scoring after Naruki Takahashi connected to a decent cross from captain Kyoga Nakamura but DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof made the save.
DPMM FC were awarded a free-kick as a consequence of clever play from Andrei Varankou who instigated a foul from an Albirex player. Hendra curled the subsequent free-kick but only straight to Fukudome.
Nakamura’s free-kick was cleared by DPMM FC centre back Charlie Clough and the loose ball fell for Daizo Horikoshi who ballooned his effort wide.
DPMM FC were down to ten men after fullback Najib Tarif was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 53rd minute. The fullback appeared to charge into Horikoshi who had broken away from a counter.
The visitors were inches from conceding a penalty after Ryo Nakano was tripped outside the box.
Albirex defender Kodai Sumikawa sent a low cross into the box but good defending from Charlie Clough prevented Horikoshi from inviting danger into Wardun’s goal.
Hiroyoshi Kamata orchestrated the move with good ball control before space opened up for Albirex but Nakamura sliced his shot wide much to the relief of the visiting defence.
The hosts were dispossessed as Azwan Ali Rahman picked up the pieces before driving forward in the Albirex midfield. He found Varankou who attempted to curl his effort beyond Fukudome but the lack of power enabled the goalkeeper to gather the ball with ease.
Albirex midfielder Kaishu Yamazaki was afforded space to take a free hit but he dragged his shot wide as DPMM FC again were let off the hook. There were chances for a winner on both ends of the pitch deep into injury time.
Abdul Mu’iz Sisa floated in a good ball into the box which was not far away from Razimie Ramlli for DPMM FC while Yoshikatsu Hiraga could not get sufficient power to trouble Wardun from a Nakamura curled cross.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin