By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Despite taking to the field in Tuesday's semi-final clash at the Woodlands Stadium with just one foreigner in their starting XI, DPMM produced a fine display against the Rams and claimed the win in the 50th minute when Hendra Azam curled home a freekick after Shahrazen Said had been felled on the edge of the box.
Shahrazen, one of the more experienced campaigners in the Bruneian outfit, was one of their best players but several new faces, including the likes of Hendra and Suhaimie Yussof, all put in excellent displays to help their team down an opposition side boasting of five experienced foreigners, including South Korean duo Moon Soon-ho and Chang Jo-yoon, Thai midfield lynchpin Theeraweekin Seehawong and all-action Japanese Atsushi Shimono.
And having also seen his side end a five-game winless streak in the process, Simunic believes the result proved that the future of Bruneian football was very bright despite what has been a difficult season for them in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League.
"I'm so proud of my players tonight [Tuesday]," he said. "This is effectively the Brunei national team.
"We missed Sairol [Sahari] and there's not need to talk about the likes of [Joao] Moreira and [Tales dos] Santos but still I think the chances created were 7-1 in our favour. I'm especially proud of the Bruneian players.
"Many because thought we would lose easily today [Tuesday] but this is football. We focus on what we have to do on the pitch.
"They [Woodlands] have players like Moon, Chang, the Thai midfielder [Theeraweekin], while we have some players who've only played two or three times in the S.League.
"But we played our game and attacked for the full 90 minutes playing with three strikers. I've always said Brunei has potential and today [Tuesday] we showed that."
DPMM can now win the League Cup for the second year running, having beaten Geylang International 2-0 in last season's final, but face an in-form Balestier Khalsa side.
Nonetheless, the Croatian tactician is confident his side can go all the way and see off the Tigers to ensure they do not end the season without silverware.
"Reaching the final is already a very good result for DPMM," Simunic added. "In the next 90 minutes [of the final] anything can happen.
"This season hasn't been easy for us. We changed eight foreign players and I think we've been very unlucky.
"But I never change a winning team; I never think about names. I only choose the best players and that's what I will do for the final."
Woodlands coach Salim Moin admitted his side only had themselves to blame for their failure to put away a number of excellent chances, including in the first half when Moon screwed a penalty wide of the mark after he had been felled inside the box.
"Basically, this happened because my team did not take their chances," he said. "We could even have won the game in the first half but we failed to convert.
"For me, the missed penalty was the turning point of the game. The players were disappointed after that and the organisation was not there; they put themselves under pressure.
"DPMM are a team that have good fighting spirit. They fought back after that and eventually got their goal from the freekick."
Nonetheless, Salim was quick to point out how 2013 has already been an excellent campaign for the Rams following last year's awful displays.
"I'm very proud that we advanced to the semi-finals [of the League Cup] and I'm also very proud we've finished in the top six [of the league]," he added. "I've already fulfilled the management's goals for the season.
"Now we just have to concentrate on finishing as high on the league table as we can.
"Of course I feel a bit disappointed in myself as I was hoping we would get silverware this year. I had faith and confidence that they could advance to the final but the ball is round.
"It was a balanced and fair game, both teams didn't want to lose and the result of that was an attacking game."
DPMM are two-time champions of the tournament having also won it back in 2009, while Balestier are looking for the first major piece of silverware in their history.
Image courtesy of S.League