By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Reporting from the Jalan Besar Stadium
Two goals in three minutes by Hendra Azam and Shahrazen Said early on in the first half put the Bruneian outfit in a commanding position, but the hosts replied in the 24th minute when Raihan Rahman fired home a penalty.
Rodrigo Tosi then restored DPMM’s two-goal cushion nine minutes after the break when he headed home Rosmin Kamis’ freekick, but they were made to sweat for all three points when the Young Lions made it 3-2 in the 81st minute through another penalty from Sherif El-Masri.
Having bounced back from their Starhub League Cup final defeat to Balestier Khalsa last week with a 3-1 win over Harimau Muda, DPMM were looking to move one step closer to a seventh-place finish and they got off to a fine start.
Just nine minutes in, a lovely set-piece routine saw Azwan Saleh and Rosmin Kamis both fake to shoot a freekick on the edge of the box, before Hendra stepped up and curled a lovely effort into the far corner.
Barely two minutes later, it was 2-0 when Tosi played a neat pass to Shahrazen, who let the ball roll across his body and onto his right foot before rifling an unstoppable shot into the back of the net.
The Young Lions were certainly stunned, especially goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari as his first two touches were to pick the ball out of the net, but he did react well in the 15th minute to prevent the visitors from going further ahead; diving down low to keep out a firm drive from Rosmin.
The hosts did create a good opening two minutes later when Iqbal Hussain was picked out inside the area but after his close-range shot was blocked, Shamil Sharif could only blaze the rebound on the volley over the bar.
But in the 22nd minute, they were presented the perfect opportunity to get back into the game after El-Masri, racing onto a brilliant through-ball by Iqbal cut inside his man before seeing his shot handled by a desperate Abdul Aziz Tamit.
Referee Ahmad A’Qashah had no hesitation as he pointed to the spot and despite Wardun Yussof’s best efforts on the goal-line, Raihan coolly stepped up and poked his shot down the middle to reduce the deficit.
And three minutes after the half-hour mark, Young Lions thought they had equalised after Sheikh Abdul Hadi, pouncing on a rebound after Wardun had parried Sahil Suhaimi’s bullet header, smashed towards goal, only to see the DPMM keeper produce a second save.
Despite fervent protests from the hosts, A’Qashah deemed that the ball had not crossed the line fully, leaving DPMM’s lead intact.
A couple of minutes later, that advantage could have been extended when Azwan found space down the right and played a lovely ball to Shahrazen, but he completely fluffed his shot at the far post with the entire goal to aim for and allowed Syazwan to gather comfortably.
But just nine minutes after halftime, the Bruneians duly made it 3-1 when Rosmin lined up a freekick near the halfway line and sent the ball into the box, where Tosi proceeded to rise highest and send a header past a hapless Syazwan.
The hosts did almost manage an instant reply four minutes later when Sahil broke free inside the box but was denied by Wardun in a one-on-one situation, before Stanely Ng’s follow-up effort was blocked by Pg Sallehuddin Damit.
As the second half wore on, the Young Lions were looking increasingly dangerous and they had the ball in the back of the net in the 71st minute when Al-Qaasimy Rahman’s right-wing cross was flicked on by Sahil and glanced home by Afiq Yunos, only for the strike to be correctly chalked off by the linesman’s flag for offside.
DPMM then had an opportunity to kill off the game two minutes later when a lovely shuffle of the feet by Shahrazen saw him skip past both Farhan Rahmat and Afiq on the edge of the area, but having advanced on goal he could only sent his shot high and wide.
11 minutes from time, the Young Lions were awarded a second penalty after the lively Sahil was tripped inside the area by Subhi Abdilah. This time it was El-Masri who stepped up but the result was the same, as he clinically fired his shot into the bottom corner to keep his side alive.
However, try as they might, the hosts were just unable to find an equaliser despite their best efforts and it was DPMM who were left celebrating a hard-earned three points at the final whistle.
81’ El-Masri fires penalty into bottom corner after Subhi tripped Sahil inside the area.
Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari, Faiz Salleh (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 13’), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Afiq Yunos, Ali Hudzaifi, Shamil Sharif (Farhan Rahmat 55’), Raihan Rahman, Sherif El-Masri, Sahil Suhaimi, Stanely Ng (Fareez Farhan 66’), Iqbal Hussain.
DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Subhi Abdilah, Pg Sallehuddin Damit, Abdul Aziz Tamit, Rosmin Kamis, Helmi Zambin (Tales dos Santos 90’), Hendra Azam (Awangku Fakharrazi 78’), Azwan Ali (Adi Said 72’), Azwan Saleh, Rodrigo Tosi, Shahrazen Said.
Image courtesy of VOXSPORTS (Darren Ho)