| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI DPMM FC moved four points clear at the top of the AIA Singapore Premier League after they edged Young Lions 1-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore yesterday.
Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman’s strike in the 11th minute proved the difference and his side strengthened their grip at the top of the table after nearest title rivals Albirex Niigata (S) slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Hougang United.
DPMM FC forward Adi Said made his first start for the Gegar Gegar men since re-joining the club while experienced goalkeeper Wardun Yussof notched up yet another clean sheet.
Set-piece specialist Hendra Azam provided an accurate delivery into the box and Charlie Clough’s cushioned header was met by Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman who fired home a powerful strike. The striker is enjoying a purple patch after finding the target for a third consecutive match.
When DPMM FC were awarded a free-kick for a push on foreign import Andrei Varankou, Clough was the obvious target in their bid to replicate the build-up to the first goal but Hendra’s cross found Varankou instead who struck the base of the post.
The visitors pulled a string of passes with Adi linking up with Varankou before the former laid the return ball into the path of Abdul Azizi who directed his shot wide.
Azwan Ali Rahman benefitted from a defensive error from a Young Lions player but decided to go alone with Abdul Azizi waiting for the pass to be slipped through.
The hosts created an opportunity after a nice little layoff from Saifullah Akbar to set up Syed Firdaus who was perfectly positioned to take a shot. However, he unleashed his shot well wide and did not trouble goalkeeper Wardun Yussof.
Young Lions improved in the second half highlighted by Abdul Rasaq’s intent to carve open the defence.
As the visitors went on a counter, Varankou evaded his marker but Young Lions goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad made an important stop to deny the Belarussian.
On the other end of the pitch, Naqiuddin Eunos turned his marker and raced through into the area to find support. He struck the ball into the middle of the box but Abdul Rasaq could not find the touch.
Razimie Ramlli whipped in a dangerous cross into the box as Varankou’s header was tipped away by Zharfan to safety.
Another opportunity arrived as defender Hazwan Hamzah flicked his header wide after being picked out by Hendra, who had brilliantly stolen a yard from his marker to lift the ball into the far post.
The visitors survived a scare after Abdul Rasaq bursts through but took a heavy touch at a crucial moment.
Razimie had the chance to put the game to bed after being set up by Varankou but the local forward hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Young Lions’ Zulqarnaen Suzliman tried his luck from distance but it would have taken something special to beat Wardun as his low strike rolled safely into his arms.