| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC were held to a goalless draw by Young Lions in the AIA Singapore Premier League at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
The Gegar Gegar men currently lead the table by two points ahead of a much-improved Hougang United, though the gap at the top would have been four with a win.
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 Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman attended the match.
Also present were His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Anak Muneerah Madhul Bolkiah and Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman.
Early in the match, the returning Shah Razen Said had a good chance to open the scoring after bursting into the box but struck directly into the goalkeeper whose save resulted in a corner.
From the ensuing corner, Azwan Ali Rahman could not get his shot across goal from close range as his effort hit the side-netting.
The hosts pushed for an opener as foreign import Andrei Varankou got to the end of a decent cross from Najib Tarif, but his header flashed wide.
DPMM FC midfielder Blake Ricciuto released the ball into the path of the on-rushing Helmi Zambin on the flanks and the latter did well to keep play alive under the sliding challenge of a Young Lions defender.
Another chance of opening the lead gone begging as Najib teed Azwan Ali Rahman who skied his effort wide.
The league leading scorer Andrei Varankou, who is the first player to reach double digits this season, took over set-piece duties and his effort cleared the bar.
Varankou came close again as his free-kick narrowly missed the mark right at the end of the opening half as the hosts were kept frustrated at the break.
Azwan Ali clever turn helped set him away from his marker before his lofted ball found Varankou whose tame shot did not trouble Young Lions goalkeeper Kenji Rusydi.
Young Lions’ Haiqal Pashia has been a menacing figure and his brilliant move to set him away from Ricciuto enabled him an opening which took a deflection for a corner.
Helmi Zambin swung in a wonderful delivery into the box which saw both Charlie Clough and Razimie Ramlli matching similar ambition of attacking the ball.
Haiqal managed to steal the ball off Clough but Hazwan Hamzah was the last man in defence and blocked his shot for a throw-in.
There was one final chance at the dying moments of the tie as Hendra Azam floated in a free-kick but a teammate could not guide the ball back into the box, marking the conclusion of an affair.