DPMM FC maintained their unbeaten start to the 2015 S.League campaign on Thursday after recording a hard-fought 1-0 win over Geylang International at the Bedok Stadium.
For the second game running, new signing Paulo Sergio was their hero as he scored with nine minutes remaining to hand his side maximum points, after they had spent much of the match struggling to find a way past the stubborn opposition defence.
The result, DPMM’s fourth in five matches, was enough to send them second on the table and just two points behind leaders Albirex Niigata (S), and they still have two games in hand.
Meanwhile, Geylang have every reason to feel hard done by given the amount of endeavour and spirit they had displayed, although there can be no denying that if any team deserved to win, it would have been their opponents.
The visitors got off to a bright start and threatened after nine minutes when Rafael Ramazotti met Joe Gamble’s freekick with a deft header, but Yazid Yasin did well to scramble across and push it wide.
From the resultant corner, it was Brian McLean’s turn to test Yazid when he met Hendra Azam’s delivery at the near post and nodded it towards goal, but the Eagles custodian was once again equal to the task.
But after a shaky start, Geylang did gradually find their rhythm and had a half-chance in the 21st minute when Bruno Castanheira burst through after seizing upon a poor touch by McLean, only for Boris Raspudic to race back and block his path as he was about to pull the trigger.
The hosts had an even better opportunity a minute before halftime as Bruno played a slide-rule pass to release Jozef Kaplan, but McLean was able to make a vital block before the Slovak could threaten Wardun Yussof’s goal.
DPMM were then extremely unlucky not to break the deadlock two minutes into the second half when they were denied by the woodwork; Azwan Ali’s 40-yard freekick missing its intended target in Ramazotti but taking a wicked bounce and appearing to catch Yazid out before coming back off the bar.
Still, the Bruneian outfit continued to push forward but the Eagles continued to stand firm, with Kento Fukuda impressively keeping Ramazotti quiet for much of their duel, while Hafiz Osman was always perfectly positioned to clear numerous deliveries into the box.
Yazid was also turning back the years with an inspired display and he continued to keep the visitors at bay, producing a couple of smart saves at his near post to keep out snapshots from Sergio and Azwan.
Nonetheless, with nine minutes remaining, DPMM finally found the breakthrough when Sergio, who had netted twice on debut in a 3-2 win over Hougang, found space inside the area.
Despite being surrounded by a sea of players, the Portuguese managed to wriggle free to create just a yard of space, before rifling away a low shot that beat Yazid and made its way into the bottom corner.
Now in possession of the lead, the visitors had no problems in playing out the remainder of the contest to hold out for the win, which keeps them firmly on course for the top of the table.
Geylang International: Yazid Yasin, Anaz Hadee (Huzaifah Aziz 90’), Yuki Ichikawa, Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Shawal Anuar 88’), Khairulnizam Jumahat, Tatsuro Inui, Jozef Kaplan, Hafiz Nor, Bruno Castanheira.
DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari (Helmi Zambin 84’), Azwan Ali, Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Rosmin Kamis 89’), Najib Tarif (Azwan Saleh 78’), Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.