By Suhas BhatFollow @@suhasrbhat
The Bruneians were searching for a first win to the season when they visited the Jurong East stadium and it took them just 29 minutes to open the scoring when Shahrazen Said capitalised on some chaos in the box following a corner to net his third goal of the season.
However, Albirex retaliated with goals from Kento Nagasaki and Kazuki Sakamoto either side of halftime to inflict a first loss of the season on Simunic's men.
But the game threatened to turn ugly close to the end when Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman stayed down after a sliding challenge. The referee allowed play to continue and Albirex nearly went on to score a third, sparking off furious scenes on the visiting bench.
Simunic was clearly incensed with the officiating in the match and told reporters: "I saw a foul but referee didn’t see it. I think the referee did not have a good game. I wanted to go on the pitch myself and bring his attention to my injured player.
"Today [Monday], two of my players suffered injuries and that’s disappointing.
"If Shahrulrizal hadn’t been injured, I could have put another forward but I was forced into using up my substitutions early. He suffered a knock to his meniscus and could face six weeks out."
The Croat was not disappointed by his side's showing in the game though and felt that they had done enough to register a draw.
"We played an open, attacking game but were let down by [Stephane] Auvray’s mistake [for the first goal] but I’m still proud of my local players [from Brunei], some of whom are just mere kids," he continued.
"My players constantly pressed the Albirex men and it looked like we would score any minute. They worked very hard, especially after Shahrulrizal’s injury.
"I’d rather that we impress while losing instead of winning in a poor game. It gives me hope for the future.
"I had more answers than questions from this game even if we lost and that was good."
Simunic will hope his side can use the positives from this defeat in their upcoming three home games against Woodlands Wellington, Geylang International and Tanjong Pagar United.