DPMM FC’s Shah Razen Said (red) dribbles the ball against Tampines Rovers FC’s player (yellow)
BY Fadhil Yunus
DPMM FC moved level on points with Tampines Rovers FC at the top of the AIA Singapore Premier League table after a 2-1 victory against them at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
The Gegar Gegar men also remain the only unbeaten side in the league and only lie second in the table due to an inferior goal difference with a game in hand.
Adrian Pennock’s charges are also the first side to inflict Tampines’s first loss of the league campaign, whose commitments also extends in the continental AFC Cup.
DPMM FC forward Shah Razen Said showed flashes of individual brilliance when he turned away past Daniel Bennett before releasing a low effort which was well saved by Tampines shot-stopper Syazwan Buhari.
The hosts made a positive start early on having succeeded in neutralising the threat of Jordan Webb and Ryutaro Megumi, both players viewed as key players in Tampines’ attacking force, emphasised by the tight marking of the duo of Helmi Zambin and Abdul Mu’iz Sisa.
DPMM FC foreign import Blake Ricciuto rose for a header amid a crowded Tampines box from an Abdul Mu’iz’s cross which required course of action from Syazwan to prevent the ball from creeping into the roof of the net.
The club’s leading scorer Andrei Varankou demonstrated his qualities in hold-up play after reacting to a cross from Yura Indera Putera before setting strike partner Abdul Azizi Rahman for a shot.
The Brunei forward could not get his shooting boots on as he fired waywardly wide amid pressure from the evergreen Daniel Bennett.
However, the stadium erupted with joy on the stroke of half-time as Varankou drilled a low finish after combining with Abdul Azizi Rahman for his third goal of the season.
Irwan’s attempted diagonal play was well read by the home defence, enabling Varankou to push the ball wide for Abdul Azizi. His strike partner returned the favour with a dangerous cross and Varankou fired home.
In a space of just five minutes, DPMM FC enjoyed a smooth transition from defensive assuredness at the back in dealing with tricky speedster Jordan Webb to seeing their lead doubled.
Yura Indera Putera asserted his authority at the heart of defence with an all-important tackle for a corner which was not accommodating for the visitors as Varankou put off Madhu Mohana.
The visitors showed promise as Zehrudin Mehmedovic enjoyed a neat exchange with Irwan and the latter’s cross-cum-shot was dealt with by DPMM FC shot-stopper Wardun Yussof.
Azwan Ali Rahman played a one-two with Varankou before accompanying his slaloming run into the box with a delicate strike past Syazwan.
Before the passage of play that led to Azwan Ali’s goal, Yura Indera should be acknowledged in the build-up for his decision-making of picking the right pass.
Ricciuto nearly conjured a contender for goal of the season after making a blistering run from his own half into the area before his shot was parried away for a corner.
The attacking threat from the Stags had been mostly non-existent for large parts of the game but they heightened hopes of salvaging an unlikely point after Khairul Amri’s moment of genius.
Yasir Hanapi’s marauding run from the centre circle kept the DPMM FC players in his wake before picking out Khairul who measured his shot to absolute perfection, leaving Wardun no chance.
The Singapore international’s stunner marked the first time that DPMM FC had conceded a goal this season.
Tampines made it a nervy finish in the final few minutes of the match with their intensified pressure as Megumi tried to create an opening for his side.
Khairul Amri kept the play alive but Yura Indera Putera snuffed out the danger with his assured defending and therefore spent valuable time in winding down the clock.
DPMM FC substitute Razimie Ramlli drove forward into the box but his shot was comfortably blocked in the dying seconds of the game.
There was still time for one final push for the visitors as Webb switched play to Megumi but his cross could not reach a teammate and with it a much-deserved victory for the hosts.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin