DPMM FC got off to a losing start in their return to competitive football in the Singapore Premier League following a 3-1 loss to Lion City Sailors at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore last night.
The season opener marked their first start in the Singapore top flight since the end of the 2019 season, ending a three-year absence owed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hosts sent an early warning of their attacking threat to their rivals after Maxime Lestienne struck the post.
But, DPMM FC swiftly responded as Hakeme Yazid Said called Lion City Sailors’ goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad into action.
After taking their corner short, the ball invitingly arrived at the feet of Lion City Sailors’ defender Hafiz Nor, whose shot whistled wide the bar.
The Bruneians had a decent chance as Najib Tarif took advantage of a loose ball, but Zharfan pushed the ball away for a corner.
The home captain Hariss Harun then headed wide a free-kick from Maxime, but it did not trouble DPMM FC goalkeeper Akmal Tursunbaev at all.
The Sailors broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time as Maxime pounced from close range after connecting from a cutback from Diego Lopes.
The Gegar Gegar men were close to level the match as Fakharrazi Hassan headed Najib’s teasing cross, but the goalkeeper denied his point blank effort.
The visitors got back into the tie partially assisted by an error from Zharfan.
DPMM FC forward Andrei Varankou capitalised on the error and laid the ball to Hakeme Yazid, who drilled home a fine finish for their first goal of the season.
The visiting side were dealt a blow as first-choice striker Hakeme Yazid left the field on a stretcher after suffering from an injury.
Varankou managed to get some contact with the ball after Azwan Ali Rahman shot was deflected off a defender, but the former’s save resulted in Zharfan getting his hands on the ball.
The hosts retook the lead as forward Kodai Tanaka buried a header into the empty net as Lopes racked up his second assist of the game.
The Lion City Sailors import struck against the post after his run was left unopposed as Akmal was credited into making a save.
The hosts sealed the tie as Abdul Rasaq Akeem cleverly slotted the ball home after his fellow substitute Shawal Anuar managed to find him with a layback.