| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC forward Abdul Azizi Rahman inspired his team to a 3-1 victory over Hougang United with a first-half hat-trick in the Singapore Premier League at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
The 31-year-old impressed in his first start for the club as the focal point in attack in place of the suspended Volodymyr Pryimov.
The Gegar Gegar men snapped a five-game winless run and in the process reignited their hopes of a second-place finish in the league.
With victory the main requirement against the basement dwellers, DPMM FC with 31 points are five points away from the runners-up spot having played a game less.
The hosts enjoyed a fine start after Abdul Azizi latched onto a fine delivery from Adi Said in the third minute to open his account for the club.
The assist provided a historic milestone to the in-form Adi too who became the first player in the Singapore Premier League to record double digits in both goals and assists.
It was nearly a second goal for the Gegar Gegar men after a ball went close in reaching Shah Razen Said and had it landed three feet closer the outcome would have been most welcomed.
The calmness of Adi Said’s header to Helmi Zambin nearly spelled disaster after Fareez Farhan took control of the ball but fortunately the midfielder hits the side-netting from a tight angle.
Adi was clear in part helped by his electric pace but the forward sliced his shot wide before receiving another opportunity when Shah Razen delivered a precise cross into the middle, but Hougang custodian Ridhuan Barudin thwarted his effort with a smart save.
Azwan Ali Rahman is returning to form with his creativity and ability to mastermind a team-oriented play and he played a short pass despite limited space for the second goal.
Abdul Azizi turned in a flash and produced an expert low finish past the unsighted Ridhuan to double his side’s lead in the 44th minute.
The forward was not done yet to terrorise the visiting defence after connecting a delightful cross from Azwan Ali on the stroke of half-time.
The Cheetahs pulled one back after substitute Fazrul Nawaz brilliantly slotted a composed finish after being set up with a good pass in the 49th minute.
Adi prevented the ball from passing the by-line but Azwan sliced his shot wide while in the other end Iqbal struck a low drive which was dealt with by DPMM FC goalkeeper Haimie anak Nyaring.