| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC survived a brave fightback from Warriors FC to snatch all three points in a hugely entertaining 4-2 victory amid a match interrupted by a lengthy delay in the AIA Singapore Premier League at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
The league leaders opened the scoring with just 52 seconds of the clock gone through an amazing strike from Azwan Ali Rahman.
The league’s leading scorer Andrei Varankou doubled the lead in a prolonged first half after the match had been suspended for nearly an hour due to inclement weather.
But the visitors showed resurgence in the second half after clawing their way back through goals from Gabriel Quak and Sahil Suhaimi.
DPMM FC foreign import Blake Ricciuto put his team’s noses back in front before Andrei Varankou wrapped up the points in the final minute of normal time.
DPMM FC midfielder Hendra Azam replaced Shahrazen Said in the starting line-up after the striker picked up an unfortunate injury during a training session while Yura Indera Putera returned after missing out the Balestier Khalsa game.
The hosts started brightly as Hendra slipped a pass to the advancing Abdul Mu’iz Sisa who made a cutback to Abdul Azizi Rahman. The striker’s subsequent shot was blocked by a Warriors man before Varankou subsequent header was calmly saved by the goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar.
The Gegar Gegar men did not wait long for the lead as Azwan Ali Rahman brilliantly dinked the ball over the goalkeeper after chasing a loose ball from Charlie Clough’s header inside a minute.
Warriors striker Jonathan Behe wriggled his way from two DPMM FC players before picking out Ryhan Stewart who drilled the ball into the box for Gabriel Quak whose tame shot gave DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof no problems.
Behe beautifully flicked the ball for Warriors captain Sahil Suhaimi who drove forward unopposed and flashed his shot wide.
Azwan Ali took advantage of a half-hearted clearance before lifting the ball for Varankou but the Belarussian was denied from pulling the trigger by defender Tajeli Selamat.
The rain started to pour heavily by the time Sahil took a free-kick which just missed contact from his teammate.
Behe managed to get his shot from outside the box but Wardun was equal to the task with a decent save.
Varankou played in Azwan Ali who returned the favour with a pass but Fashah pulled out a brilliant stop to deny the foreign import. Charlie Clough got off with a header from a Hendra Azam’s corner which ended wide.
Just as when Warriors were preparing to take a corner, the match was suspended after 25 minutes due to inclement weather. The match was delayed for up to 50 minutes with play restarting from a Warriors corner.
Abdul Mu’iz provided the springboard for an attack as Abdul Azizi was set up by Varankou but Delwinder Singh made a crucial intervention to deny the local striker.
Abdul Mu’iz cuts the ball back to Blake Ricciuto whose shot was heroically blocked by Kento Fukuda.
The Australian got into an advanced position and cut inside Warriors defender Faizal Raffi who stuck his leg out leaving him floored. The referee pointed to the spot for a penalty which Varankou converted with aplomb for his ninth goal of the season.
Tajeli struck a decent attempt from range but the ball ended safely to the experienced Wardun Yussof.
Warriors’s Gabriel Quak handed his team a lifeline after his shot found the near post off Wardun’s goal in the 53rd minute.
There was a change in formation for the visitors as Fukuda was deployed as centre defence while Tajeli played in the defensive midfield role.
The hosts got off the hook after their defence switched off as Behe’s advances were thwarted by Wardun following good work from a combination of Sahil and Gabriel. Clough came to his team’s aid with a long clearance as Ryhan looked to punish the league leaders.
The performance of the visitors belied their actual position in the league as Behe won a duel with a DPMM FC marker and called Wardun into action.
Gabriel made a marauding burst into DPMM FC’s final third before unleashing a fierce drive which Wardun saved well but the danger was not over yet as Sahil fired home the equaliser.
Helmi Zambin produced an excellent delivery into the box as a looping header from Ricciuto looked to find the target, however, the outstretched arms of Fashah kept the ball out.
Varankou brought the danger back into the box as Blake planted his header into the roof of the net to send his team back into the lead.
The Belarussian made sure of the points after a devastating counterattacking play having won an aerial battle with a Warriors player before laying the ball for substitute Razimie Ramlli.
Unselfish play from Razimie led to a pass for Varankou who slotted home into an empty net for his 10th goal of the season.