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    Pennock keeps faith in his charges in Singapore Cup opener against Geylang

    Fadhil Yunus

    DPMM FC head coach Adrian Pennock has kept his faith in the entire squad after fielding a much-changed side in the 1-1 draw against Geylang International FC in Group ‘B’ of the Komoco Motors Singapore Cup 2019 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Wednesday.

    The head coach made nine changes to the side that featured against Tampines Rovers in the AIA Singapore Premier League with only forward Adi Said and defender Hanif Hamir retaining their starting berth.

    The ‘Gegar Gegar’ men were inspired by all local players in the starting line-up with foreign imports Charlie Clough, Blake Ricciuto and Andrei Varankou named among the substitutes.

    Pennock hailed the character of his charges despite minimal chances in the game before calling a good performance from his players.

    “We made nine changes today from the Tampines game. I think overall that just shows the character we got here. I think we thoroughly deserved it and we played really well with some good football. We don’t create a lot of chances but it was a really good performance,” said Pennock in a post-match interview with the Singapore media.

    He added, “I believe in all of my 25 players. I said to them at halftime to carry on playing. Obviously, we were losing 1-0 at half-time. I didn’t want to change anything obviously with a couple of cramps here and there.”

    “The effort they put in has been absolutely fantastic but it just shows the character we’ve got at the club.”

    With an eye on their final league game of the season against Hougang United, it took the 80th minute for a change of personnel.

    “I didn’t really want to change to be honest. We have a big game against Hougang (in the league). We’re going to lift the trophy on Sunday. I just can’t wait for Sunday, it’s going to be special.”

    “It’s never been done before (history of the club) so we want to make history. We fully deserve to be the champions because we’ve been consistent. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the point so we just have to move on.”

    DPMM FC players celebrating Andrei Varankou’s goal against Geylang International in the Singapore Cup. PHOTO: SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE

    Meanwhile, Pennock opposite number Geylang head coach Mohd Noor Ali likened DPMM FC’s style of football that usually practised in English football with their long ball tactics.

    “Of course I feel very frustrated with the result but saying that I think the boys gave 100 per cent throughout the 90 minutes. Basically, we know what Brunei were going to do,” said Mohd Noor in a post-match interview.

    He continued, “Whether they play the three foreigners or not, they are just going to hit the ball up there into the box and they got the goal when they bring the two foreigners in.”

    “We know this is going to happen. I think we should have kept the ball a little bit better in the last minute.”

    “Certainly, we wanted to get the three points. It was a good chance for us but the problem is DPMM FC is DPMM FC. They will never change with their English style of football where they pump the ball up the field.”

    The head coach is not entirely disappointed with the result considering the strength of the other teams in the group.

    “I think a draw is a good result because this is a ‘Group of Death’. Nobody will give us a chance to qualify with Albirex Niigata (S) and Brunei DPMM FC, who are last year’s finalists.”

    “But, I think a point is good because you never know what is going to happen in the next two games (against Hougang and Albirex). We’re going to meet Albirex so hopefully we’ll try to work something out in the next game,” said the former Singapore international.

    Considering the perceived age disparity with three under-23 players in the starting line-up, Mohd Noor reserved praise for their hard work before adding his thoughts on DPMM FC’s style of football.

    “I have and one young boy at right back and one centre midfielder who is very young. They did well playing against the senior players who are 26-27 years old.”

    “If they have played their three foreigners, I think it would be harder for us. Saying that, I think the boys worked very hard throughout the game because we know it is never easy to play DPMM FC with their rugby style of football,” continued the head coach.

    “They were making three passes from the back. That’s their football and I just need to work on my team strength and how to handle them.”

    The Eagles played three at the back having been well aware on the football that the visitors would demonstrate against them.

    “I need people like Yuki (Ichikawa), Andres (Aplin), Jufri (Taha) or Shahrin (Saberin). I think Shahrin has a good game because it is his second season with us. That’s the reason why I did because they (DPMM FC) were going to hit the long balls and they got one goal in the ninetieth minute.”

    He said, “It’s a bit disappointing that we conceded the goal but in the end of the day the league’s top-scorer got the goal. It’s painful but I got to move on and look at two more games to go with Albirex and Hougang.”

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