Varankou’s last-gasp equaliser rescues DPMM FC from defeat in Singapore Cup

Fadhil Yunus

DPMM FC in-form forward Andrei Varankou scored a last-gasp equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Geylang International with seconds of injury time remaining in Group ‘B’ of the Komoco Motors Singapore Cup 2019 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore last night.

The Belarusian rescued the side from defeat but local star Adi Said was again at the centre as a chief architect with an assist.

The newly crowned Singapore Premier League champions featured an all-local team with all foreign imports Charlie Clough, Blake Ricciuto and Andrei Varankou named among the substitutes.

Goalkeeper Haimie anak Nyaring made his first start for DPMM FC since an emergency call-up in the match against Hougang United in the AIA Singapore Premier League in July.

The Brunei-based outfit created an opportunity when DPMM FC forward Razimie Ramlli cushioned the ball with a header into the path of Adi Said, whose volley was calmly collected by Geylang International goalkeeper Zainol Gulam.

Adi tested Zainol with a fizzing shot from distance but the goalkeeper played the safety card and parried the ball away for a corner.

DPMM FC midfielder Azwan Salleh struck from distance with his free-kick but the ball went straight to the untroubled Zainol.

A DPMM FC player and a Geylang International player vie for the ball during the match. PHOTO: SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE

Adi struck a fierce shot with a trademark free-kick which stung the gloves of Zainol as the forward looked likely to unlock the Geylang defence.

Geylang midfielder Christopher Van Huizen’s determination to keep the ball alive in the field of play paid off, as a long ball driven forward reached Barry Maguire.

The Irish-Dutch midfielder released the ball to the incoming Shawal Anuar who blitzed into the box before firing low past Haimie for the opening goal of the game.

The visitors made a double substitution in the 80th minute as Andrei Varankou and Blake Ricciuto looked to resuscitate their side from their current situation.

Azwan Salleh was stretchered off the field and Abdul Muiz Si’sa entered the fray for DPMM FC’s final substitution of the game.

The match sparked controversy after Geylang defender Darren Teh appeared to have handled Varankou’s shot. But, despite calls for a penalty, the referee only awarded DPMM FC a corner.

Geylang could not wind down the clock as Anders Aplin’s long throw was caught out by a DPMM FC player and a long ball forward appeared to be a springboard for an attack.

With the final minute of injury time to go, Varankou took a neat touch for Ricciuto who delivered a cross towards Adi Said.

The local winger brilliantly carved out space and floated in a delicious ball above the head of a Geylang defender, giving Varankou the all clear to ghost in behind the defence and bury his header home.