File photo shows DPMM FC players and management celebrating after a victory during the AIA Singapore Premier League match. PHOTO: AKK DESIGN
BY Fadhil Yunus
DPMM FC have been confirmed as the newly crowned 2019 AIA Singapore Premier League champions after nearest rivals Hougang United ended their match against Geylang International FC in a 4-4 draw at the Our Tampines Hub in Singapore on Sunday.
The Brunei-based outfit clinched the coveted title with two games of the season to spare for their second crown in five years, having last lifted the title in 2015.
DPMM FC’s head coach Adrian Pennock has won his first major silverware with the Gegar Gegar men in his first season in charge.
Hougang needed a victory against Geylang to prolong the title race into at least next week when league leaders DPMM FC entertain Tampines Rovers FC.
Geylang forward Fareez Farhan celebrated his call-up to the Singapore national team against Palestine in the World Cup qualifiers in style with a hat-trick against his former side.
Hougang, who came into the tie five points adrift of DPMM FC, fell behind in the eighth minute after Fareez Farhan slotted home from close range after he latched onto a good delivery from Shawal Anuar.
Hougang defender Jordan Vestering’s misplaced pass proved fatal as Fareez was put clean through on goal before squeezing his shot into the net for his second of the game.
The Cheetahs were made to pay for another costly error as goalkeeper Ridhuan Barudin took a heavy touch from a Jordan back pass, which enabled Fareez an opportunity to steal and guide the ball into an empty net.
Hougang pulled one back through a stunning free-kick from Shahfiq Ghani four minutes before the break.
The comeback was very much alive when an unmarked Faris Ramli made it 3-2 after he headed in a cross from goalscorer Shahfiq.
Shawal Anuar’s header made Hougang’s task to rescue their title ambitions harder with a fourth goal as both Geylang substitutes Noor Ariff and Amy Recha combined in the build-up.
Hougang defender M Anumanthan bulldozed his way into the flanks before sending an inviting cross which was nodded in by Shahfiq for his second goal of the game.
The Cheetahs overcame a two-goal deficit after Faris flicked in a header for his second goal of the game to give his side 10 minutes to find a winner.
Hougang nearly turned the tie around and delayed the title race as Shahfiq’s corner kick rattled against the crossbar but the end of a goal-scoring frenzy in normal time confirmed DPMM FC as league champions.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin