DPMM stunned by Balestier; Albirex move top of S.League

DPMM FC were handed their first defeat of the S.League season after falling to a shock 2-1 loss to Balestier Khalsa at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on Friday evening.

The visitors broke the deadlock when Miroslav Kristic scored from the penalty spot, although there was no shortage of controversy as he was ordered to retake his kick after his initial effort had been saved by Wardun Yussof.

And it then looked as though Balestier were cruising to victory when Robert Pericic made it 2-0 two minutes after halftime.

Rafael Ramazotti did manage to pull one back in the 72nd minute when he notched his ninth goal of the campaign although DPMM were just unable to find an equaliser, allowing the Tigers to hold out for an impressive win.

In Friday’s other game, Albirex Niigata (S) tentatively moved top of the table after recording a 2-1 win over Hougang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The White Swans opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Shotaro Ihata found space on the edge of the box and floated a cross to Rui Kumada, who got enough on his header to steer it past Ridhuan Barudin despite the goalkeeper getting a touch onto it.

But three minutes after the half-hour mark, Hougang equalised after Kunihiro Yamashita broke free inside the box to meet Shunsuke Nakatake’s pinpoint corner and made no mistake in powering a header into the back of the net.

Nonetheless, it was Albirex who went on to claim maximum points in the end as they grabbed the winner in the 52nd minute; Hikaru Mizuno pouncing on a loose ball and clinically finding the bottom corner with a cool finish to extend his side’s unbeaten run to seven games.

The result allowed the White Swans to move one point clear at the league summit ahead of second-placed Warriors FC’s game against Geylang International on Saturday, while struggling Hougang are still looking for their first win in 2015 after nine games.

Friday’s S.League Results

Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Hougang United

DPMM FC 1-2 Balestier Khalsa

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DPMM down S.League leaders Warriors to stay unbeaten

DPMM FC remain unbeaten in the 2015 S.League season after recording a 3-1 win over leaders Warriors FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.

The Bruneian outfit took the lead after seven minutes when Rafael Ramazotti towered above a sea of players to meet Azwan Ali’s right-wing freekick, before powering a header past Daniel Ong from eight yards out.

Just four minutes later, DPMM doubled their lead after Azwan intercepted a stray pass from Kevin McCann and slipped a lovely pass through to Ramazotti, who made no mistake in lifting his shot past the onrushing Ong.

Warriors did manage to reduce the deficit three minutes before the hour mark through a Nicolas Velez strike; the Argentine finding space just inside the box following a short corner routine before curling a lovely shot into the far corner.

Both sides were then reduced to ten men in the 71st minute when Velez and DPMM midfielder Joe Gamble were sent off for an off-the-ball altercation, after players from both sides had clashed following a poor challenge by McCann on Paulo Sergio.

From then on, it was always going to be tough for the hosts in their bid for an equaliser, and it was their opponents who looked the likelier to add to their tally as gaps began to appear in the Warriors backline.

And in injury-time, DPMM went on to seal the win when they were Sergio confidently sent Ong the wrong way from the penalty spot, after the Portuguese had been brought down by Ong inside the area.

Despite the result, the Warriors remain top of the table but are now only two points ahead of Albirex Niigata (S) and third-placed DPMM, who still have two games in hand.

Warriors FC: Daniel Ong, Nur Asyidiq (Fazli Jaffar 90’), Daniel Bennett, Marin Vidosevic, Irwan Shah, Thomas Beattie (Hafiz Rahim 46’), Emmeric Ong (Shi Jiayi 67’), Kevin McCann, Nicolas Velez, Miroslav Pejic, Fazrul Nawaz.

DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari, Helmi Zambin (Ak Yura Indera Putera 62’), Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Rosmin Kamis 80’), Azwan Ali, Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.

DPMM continue S.League charge with Geylang triumph

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.

Singapore to meet Indonesia; Thais face Malaysia, Vietnam

Hosts Singapore’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a boost on Wednesday after they were handed a fairly favourable draw.

Seeded as hosts for the Under-23 tournament, the Lions were drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

With only the top two progressing to the last four, it looks like Singapore will be battling for qualification with the Indonesians and Myanmar.

Nonetheless, Cambodia will be confident in their prospects having recorded a 2-1 win over Singapore just last month, while Philippines have taken huge strides in recent years and are now considered a legitimate threat in the region.

But it appears most of the drama will come in Group B after defending champions Thailand were pitted against 2011 winners Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.

Under Kiatisuk Senamuang, who also guided the senior team to victory at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Thais are favourites to finish top with Malaysia and Vietnam expected to battle it out for the second qualifying berth.

However, with the likes of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Ketsada Souksavanh to call upon, Laos could just spring an upset or two along the way.

2015 Southeast Asian Games Draw

Group A: Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines

Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste

DPMM go top of S.League; Balestier rout Young Lions

DPMM FC moved top of the S.League on Saturday evening after coming from behind to beat Hougang United 3-2 at the Hougang Stadium.

The Cheetahs got off to a dream start when they took the lead inside the opening minute; Kunihiro Yamashita meeting Shunsuke Nakatake’s freekick with a diving header into the back of the net.

However, the visitors pulled level in the 14th minute when Paulo Sergio opened his account for the club, and it took the Portuguese debutant just five minutes to add a second and put his side in front.

Three minutes before the hour mark, DPMM grabbed a third when Brian McLean towered above a sea of players to head home a Najib Tarif cross, and it looked as though they were cruising towards the win.

Nonetheless, Hougang managed to pull one back in the 87th minute when Chupe found space on the edge of the box and curled a shot into the top corner, although they were just unable to find an equaliser as their opponents held out for maximum points.

The result was enough to take the Bruneian outfit top of the table with a one-point lead over both Albirex Niigata (S) and Tampines Rovers, and they could edge further ahead given they still have a game in hand.

Over at the Toa Payoh Stadium, Balestier Khalsa got back to winning ways after producing a dominant display to beat Courts Young Lions 5-1.

Fadhil Noh got the Tigers up and running in the 22nd minute when he powered home a header from Tarik Cmajcanin’s freekick, before Emir Lotinac slammed home a second on the rebound a minute before the break – after Miroslav Kristic’s initial effort had been saved by Rudy Khairullah.

Kristic then made it 3-0 eight minutes after the hour mark when he skipped inside a defender on the edge of the box before firing a shot past Rudy Khairullah, and the Croat added another in the 74th minute with a simple finish after Poh Yi Feng had unselfishly squared the ball into his path.

The rout was then completed five minutes later when Cmajcanin beat Rudy with a firm 20-yard drive, although the Young Lions did manage a consolation with four minutes remaining; Iqbal Hussain dispossessing opposition keeper Zaiful Nizam outside the area before coolly curling his shot into the unguarded net.

Saturday’s S.League Results

Balestier Khalsa 5-1 Courts Young Lions

Hougang United 2-3 DPMM FC

Ramdani strikes late to earn Home point at DPMM

Kamel Ramdani grabbed an 84th-minute equaliser to help Home United force a 2-2 draw against DPMM FC at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on Saturday.

It was the visitors who took the lead on the half-hour mark when Ken Ilso notched his fourth goal of the campaign, unleashing a left-footed strike on the turn that sailed past Wardun Yussof and into the back of the net.

But right on the stroke of halftime, Rafael Ramazotti also continued his blistering run of scoring form when he nodded the ball into the unguarded net, after Hyrulnizam Juma’at had failed to cleanly gather a long-range freekick from Boris Raspudic.

Ramazotti then put DPMM ahead on the hour mark when scored his second of the evening – and sixth goal of the season – meeting Sairol Sahari’s freekick with a firm header.

However, just when it looked as though the Bruneian outfit would hold out to claim all three points, Kamel Ramdani turned the ball home from close range after the hosts were unable to clear their lines from a freekick, earning Home a share of the spoils in the process.

Brunei DPMM FC Lineup: Wardun Yussof, Sairol Sahari, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Azwan Saleh, Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Yura Indera Putera 80’), Aminuddin Zakwan, Helmi Zambin, Craig Fagan (Adi Said 37’), Rafael Ramazotti.

Home United Lineup: Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Ang Zhiwei, Abdil Qaiyyim, Noh Rahman, Redzwan Atan (Fazli Ayob 70’), Yasir Hanapi (Nur Hizami 81’), Song Ui-young, Ambroise Begue (Stanely Ng 57’), Kamel Ramdani, Sirina Camara, Ken Ilso.

Cambodia, Timor-Leste through to second round; Brunei ousted

Cambodia are through to the second round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a 1-1 draw with Macau on Tuesday was enough to send them through 4-1 on aggregate.

Following a 3-0 win over Macau in last Friday’s first leg, the Royal Khmers only need to avoid defeat at the Macau Olympic Complex to guarantee their place in the next round.

However, just for good measure, they took the lead two minutes before the half-hour mark when Thierry Chantha Bin netted his first goal in international colours.

Macau did equalise on the night in the 52nd minute when Leong Ka Hang netted from the penalty spot but it was little more than a consolation, as the Cambodians held out to advance.

The other Southeast Asian side that will be joining them in the second round are Timor-Leste¸who beat Mongolia 1-0 at the MFF Football Centre to record a 5-1 aggregate triumph.

The only goal of the game arrived after just nine minutes Patrick Fabiano found the back of the net, which ultimately proved enough to seal their place in the next stage.

However, there was no such joy for Brunei Darussalam as they were eliminated by Chinese Taipei 2-1 on aggregate following a 2-0 defeat at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

Despite leading 1-0 from last Friday’s first leg, Tebuan fell behind in the 37th minute through a Wang Rui strike, before Chu En-le added a second eight minutes after halftime to win it for the visitors.