| Fadhil Yunus |
THE long wait for a victory against Tampines Rovers is over as Brunei DPMM FC clinched a last-gasp 2-1 win to seal third place in the RHB Singapore Cup at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore last night.
It was the perfect redemption for the 2014 S League runners-up after Tampines condemned them to a final day defeat of the season and lost out on the championship title less than a week ago.
However, the tables were turned and the ‘Gegar Gegar’ men earned a first victory in eight attempts against the Stags and quite possibly a morale-boosting victory to boot.
DPMM FC, in their third kit, expressed their intent to seize an early lead when Rodrigo Tosi cleverly adjusted his body to manoeuver Awangku Fakharrazi’s cross with a firm header that got goalkeeper Justin Pasfield concerned.
Ismadi Mukhtar delivered a fantastic cross but it pulled away from Aleksandar Duric as Tampines Rovers looked to assert their mark in the third place final.
Shahdan Sulaiman hoisted a good ball to the advancing Ismadi Mukhtar and Awangku Fakharrazi mistimed his challenge to give referee Jansen Foo no choice but to point to the spot.
Miljan Mrdakovic sent returning goalkeeper Wardun Yussof the wrong way and planted the ball into the bottom corner to grab the lead in the 15th minute.
The excellent Ismadi played a neat exchange with Shahdan and cruised past the Bruneian’s defence before slicing a pass to Mrdakovic, who despite requesting for service, failed to apply the finish with the goal at his mercy.
Tampines misplaced a pass with Awangku Fakharrazi breathing down their necks and the midfielder whipped in a delightful cross and after Roberto Alviz had teed a perfectly weighed pass, the returning Azwan Ali picked up Tosi who tapped the ball for the equaliser.
Tosi cushioned a downward header to Hendra Azam but the midfielder who patrol central midfield to perfection could only volley wide.
Wardun marked his return to the starting line-up with a high quality save after denying the effectual Ismadi and Duric’s shot deflected off the crossbar.
Tampines’s Jacob Butler sent a teasing ball to the box but the ball was too fierce for Duric to get a hold of it with the veteran striker no doubt aiming to get a farewell goal in his last game of his professional career.
Shahdan teed a lethal pass and gave chase for Mrdakovic and as he looked to pull a distance and apply the finish, Awangku Fakharrazi admirably intervened with a last-ditch intervention to deny the striker.
Tampines’ Ang Zhi Wei sent a furious ball into the packed box and both Jozef Kaplan and Aleksandar Duric could not apply the finish from close range with another chance gone begging.
Tanpines now must have known how DPMM FC felt as after Abdul Aziz Tamit got a wild hash off the ball, Ismadi tried to go for placing in the top corner to no avail.
Jamil Ali produced a fine cross but Kaplan struck the ball wide and let DPMM FC off the hook.
Kaplan did well to find space but chose to take the shot himself though an additional pass may have been another alternative with Duric waiting on the wings.
As the match was heading to penalties, Azwan Ali produced an accurate set-piece which Tosi did well to head the ball into Pasfield who made a mess of the header.
Shahrazen had the chance to kill the tie but his thigh shot landed off the crossbar and Tosi commandingly rose high and nodded the ball in for his second of the game.
Jamil Ali though nearly had the last word of normal time but Wardun did brilliantly to palm his effort away as a DPMM FC defender avoided the ball from going out of the corner.
DPMM FC’s third place finish is the club’s best ever result in the RHB Singapore Cup.