Brunei DPMM FC return to winning ways with 2-1 victory over Balestier Khalsa

|      Fadhil Yunus & Khairil Hassan      |

BRUNEI DPMM FC returned to winning ways in the AIA Singapore Premier League after a 2-1 win against Balestier Khalsa FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office attended the match.

Also in attendance were Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Anak Muneerah Madhul Bolkiah and Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman.

The Gegar Gegar men extended their lead at the top of the table to six points over second-placed Albirex Niigata (S).

It was a well-worked move with good possession play for the opening goal of the match. Azwan Ali Rahman sprayed a pass into Blake Ricciuto who elected to play a short pass to a teammate who was better positioned to supply a teasing cross into the box.

Fresh from serving a suspension, Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman showed good composure and blasted his shot first time beyond the reach of Balestier’s goalkeeper Naqiuddin Nodin.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik attend the AIA Singapore Premier League match between Brunei DPMM FC and Balestier Khalsa FC. – INFOFOTO
Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Anak Muneerah Madhul Bolkiah and Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman at the match last night
Brunei DPMM FC player Blake Ricciuto dribbles the ball as Balestier Khalsa players attempt to defend. – PHOTOS: KHAIRIL HASSAN
Brunei DPMM FC fullback Najib Tarif in action during the match. – KHAIRIL HASSAN

Balestier forward Sime Zuzul dispossessed the ball off a DPMM FC player and exchanged passes with Kristijan Kjrajcek who managed to pierce the home defence. However, Zuzul could not get the ball under control which enabled the hosts to clear off their lines.

DPMM FC fullback Najib Tarif has been a constant threat down the flanks and he produced an appetising cross into the middle which Andrei Varankou headed over.

The Belarussian, who currently leads the scoring charts, sensed an opportunity and pulled a trigger from outside the box in the 42nd minute but Naqiuddin had his goal covered.

Najib looked lively with his frequency of crosses as another dangerous ball was attacked by Azwan Ali, whose shot inadvertently flew wide.

With Sufianto Salleh lying injured, the hosts continued play and Varankou was set up deep into injury time in the first half but his shot hits the side-netting.

The hosts enjoyed a lion’s share of the possession in the opening half but they entered the break with a slender lead against the Tigers.

The lead did not hold for long as the visitors replied within just three minutes of the second half through a show of quality at the highest order from Zuzul.

Not many forwards in the league have succeeded to pass central defender Charlie Clough in the league but the Croatian left him for dead after deceiving him with a well-disguised turn. He then proceeded to beat a combination of Hanif Hamir and Nurikhwan Othman single-handedly as well as goalkeeper Wardun Yussof before coolly slotting home a neat finish.

However, the hosts regained the lead after Ricciuto fired a powerful low shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner, extending his stunning scoring form from midfield.