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Brunei DPMM are enjoying their view from the summit a third into the Singapore Premier League season, but coach adrian Pennock does not believe his side will end the campaign unbeaten.
With seven wins and two draws, they are the only unbeaten team. They lead champions Albirex Niigata by six points.
DPMM will look to extend their excellent run against third-from-bottom Geylang International at Our Tampines Hub tonight.
However, when asked if his side could emulate Albirex’ feat last year.when the Japanese team did not lose a league game, Pennock said: "Its not impossible, but we’ve played every team now, and it’ll be very difficult to do.
“Every game we played, maybe except a 7-1 win over Balestierwhere they had injuries to key players, hasn’t been a walkover.So it’ll be a very tall order
“We’re just enjoying the moment, but we know we’ve got to lose sometime , and maybe soon.”
The Englishman, who was formerly assistant to Tony Pulis at Premier League side Stoke City added: “Obviously, its great to be sitting nicely at the top of the tree, but we’re there to be shot at.”
Pennock, 48, pointed to the fitness work done in pre-season in December, daily runs on the hills and in the jungles of Bandar Seri Begawan, as being key to the team’s current success.
His foreign imports have also shone.Former Belarus international striker Andrei Varankou is the league’s leading scorer with 12 goals, while Australian midfielder Blale Ricciuto has also impressed, scoring four goals in the last five games.
“The important thing for us has been hard work,” said Pennock.
“We have players who can score goals and win games on their own, but everybody works hard for each other.
“We can still improve.We’re not the finished article for sure.”
The odds are stacked against gelling, whose coach Noor Ali faces a major selection headache.
Barry Maguire, Syahiran Miswan,Noor Ariff and Darren The are suspended while former Singapore internationals Firdays Kasman and Chris Van Huizen are struggling with injuries.Key attacker Shawal Anuar is not match fit after recovering from serious knee injury.
Noor Ali named six Under-23 players in his starting XI in last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by albirex and may have to field even more youngsters against DPMM.
But he said: “This is an opportunity for my young boys to show if they are able to put in consistent performance.And they are willing to play hard and compete.”
Referring for this week’s Champions League comebacks by Tottenham and Liverpool,he quipped: “There has been two big upsets in football already this week. Maybe our game could be the third?”
DPMM FC Import players season 2019:
DPMM probable line-up VS Albirex 15th March
Singapore Premier League leading scorers 2019
1/Andrey Varankou(DPMM)- 12
2/Faris Ramli (Hougang) - 8
3/Blake Ricciuto(DPMM) - 5
1/DPMM PULL AWAY POINTS FURTHER THAN THE REST AFTER BEATINg HOME UNITED 2-0.
2/DPMM BEAT HOUGANG 3-2 (See "My Site News")
3/DPMM AND YOUNG LIONS IN A GOALESS DRAW
4/DPMM FC EYEING AFC CUP PARTICIPATION IN 2020.
5/PENNOCK LAUDS PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE IN 7-1 WIN.(See "My Site News")
6/5-STAR DPMM STRIKER, ANDREY VARANKOW HITS 5 GOALS PAST BALESTIER KHALSA.
7/DPMM BEAT TAMPINES 2-1 IN A VERY TIGHT THRILLING ENCOUNTER .
8/ DPMM RECEIVE CONFIDENCE BOOST AHEAD OF FIRST HOME MATCH AGAINST GEYLANG.(See "My Site News")
Balestier 0 Young Lions 1
DPMM 2 Home Utd 0
Albirex 2 Geylang 0
Tampines 3 Hougang 3
Home Utd VS Tampines
Geylang VS DPMM
Young Lions VS Warriors
Hougang VS Balestier
Warriors VS Young Lions
Singapore Premier League Table
P W D L F A GD Pts
1/DPMM 9 7 2 0 22 6 16 23
2/Albirex 9 5 2 2 15 8 7 17
3/Hougang 9 5 1 3 22 17 5 16
4/Tampines 8 3 4 1 17 9 8 13
5/Balestier Khalsa 9 3 2 4 12 14 -2 11
6/Home Utd 9 3 1 5 9 14 -5 10
7/Geylang 9 3 0 6 8 18 -10 9
8/Young Lions 7 2 1 4 6 10 -4 7
9/Warriors 7 0 1 6 8 22 -14 1
DPMM FC snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner to seal a 3-2 win against Hougang United in the top-of-the-table clash in the AIA Singapore Premier League at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
The Gegar Gegar men preserbed their unbeaten start to the season and more significantly move five points clear at the top ahead of second-placed Hougang after eight games.
DPMM FC's foreign import duo Blake Ricciuto and Andrey Varankou continued their prolific form,but it was a local influence in midfielder Hendra Azam that provided the winner.
The midfielder's retaken setpiece evaded the reach of both Charlie Clough and Blake Ricciuto and importantly Hougang goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid to hit the back of the net.
The Hougang match came as a stern test this season outside the league's traditional three despite their favourable record against them but the home side made a good start.The hosts opened the lead in the 20th minute as Blake Ricciuto bundled the ball home after Charlie Clough's initial header crashed agianst the crossbar.
DPMM FC endured a setback after Helmi Zambin was forced to come off injured as Ak Kakharazzi took his place.
Hougang captain Zulfahmi Arifin arrowed his set-piece wide as they made their move in search of an equaliser.
The visitors had a chance tolevel the scores right at the end of the first half as Stipe Plazibat was not able to direct a decent cross into the box across goal.
A 1-0 lead was preserved at the break but the visitors came into the second half fired up as they responded through a quick-fire double by Plazibat,who was a main threat in attack.
Hougang's Kong Howon looked for options and a quick-thinking from a team-mate helped pull off a brilliant pass that sets Plazibat on his way.The striker provided a deft touch to steer the ball past DPMM goalkeeper Wardun Yussof.
Danger loomed as Faris Ramli instigated the attack and exchanged passes with Amir Zalani.As the former received a return pass,the Hougang star ws brought down on the box by Yura Indera which prompted the referee to award a penalty.
Plazibat made no mistake from the spot which did not only threaten DPMM FC's unbeaten start but also their foothold at the top of the table.
Hendra Azam nearly scored directy from a corner as the ball flew past Khairulhin but the Cheetahs were rescued by the post.
Khairulhin spilled Hendra's cross and the ball fell to Ricciuto who teed up Yura.he loose ball found Charlie Clough and his shot struck a hand which convinced the referee to award another penalty.
Varankou drilled the ball home from 12 yards to help his team restore parity in the 65ht minute for his 11th goal of the season.
Hougang's Muhaimin Suhaimi pulled DPMM FC substitute Razimie Ramlli shirt to conced a freekick which would turn out to be the platform for the winner.
Hendra played a quick free-kick to Abd Muiz Sisa but the referee ordered for the setpiece to be retaken.
The midfielder delivered a cross into the box and evaded everyone including the goalkeeper into the back of the net to spark euphoric scenes.
DPMM FC were held to a goalless draw by Young Lions in the AIA Singapore Premier League at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
The Gegar Gegar men currently lead the table by two points ahead of a much-improved Hougang Inited, though the gap at the top would have been four with a win.
Early in the match, the returning Shahrazen Said had a good chance to open the scoring after bursting into the box but strick directly into the goalkeeper whose save resulted in the corner.
From the ensuing corner,Azwan ali Rahman could not get his shot across goal from close range as his effort hit the side-netting.
The hosts pushed for an opener as foreign import Andrei Varankou got to thr end of a decent cross from Najib Tarif, but his header flashed wide.
DPMM FC midfielder Blake Ricciuto released the ball into the path of the on-rushing Helmi Zambin on the flanks and the latter did well to keep alive under the sliding challenge of a Young Lions defender.
Another chance of opening the lead gone begging as Najib teed Azwan Ali Rahman who skied his effort wide.
The league leading scorer Andrei Varankou, who is the first player to reach double digits this season,took over set-pieces duties and his effort cleared the bar.
Varankou came close again as his free-kick narrowly missed the mark right at the end of the opening half as the hosts were kept frustrated at the break.
Azwan Ali clever turn helped set him away from his marker before his lofted ball found Varankou whose tame shot did not trouble Young Lions goalkeeper Kenji Rusydi.
Young Lions' Haiqal Pashia has been a menacing figure and his brilliant move to set him away from Ricciuto enabled him a opening which took a deflection for a corner.
Helmi /zambin swung in a wonderful delivery into the box which saw Charlie Clough and Razimie Ramli matching similar ambition of attcking the ball.
Haiqal managed to steal the ball off Clough but Hazwan Hamzah was the last man in defene and blocked his hot for a throw-in.
There was one final chance at the dying moments of the tie as Hendra Azam floated in a free-kick but a teammate could not guide the ball back into the box,marking the conclusion of an affair.
DPMM FC survived a brave fightback from Warriors 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 striker from Azwan Ali Rahman.
The league's leading scorer Andrei Varankou doubled the league 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 golas from Gabriel Quak and Sahil Suhaimi.
DPMM FC foreign import Blake Ricciuto put his team's noses infront 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 returned after misisng out the Balestier Khalsa game.
The hosts started brightly as Hendra flipped a pass to the advancing Abd Muiz Sisa who made a cutback to Abdul Aziz Rahman.The striker's subsequent ahot was blocked by a Warriors man before Varankou subsequent header was calmly saved by 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 insode a minute.
Warriors striker Jonathan Behe wriggled his way from two DPMM players before picking out Ryhan Stewart who
drilled the ball into the box before Gabrile Quak whose tame shot gave DPMM golakeeper Wardun Yussof no problems.
Behe beautifully flicked the ball for Warriors captain Sahil Suhaimi who drove forward unopposed and f;ashed his short wide.
Azwan Ali took advantage of a half-hearted clearance before lifting the ball to Varankou but the Belrussian 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 equal to the task with a decent save.
Varankoy played in Azwan Ali 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 Hendra Azam's corner which ended wide.
Just as when Warriors were preparing to take a corner, the match was susoended after 25 minutes due to inclement weather. The match was delayed for up to 50 minutes with play restarting froma Warriors corner.
Abd Muiz provided the springboard for an attack as Aziz was set-up by Varankou but Delwinder Singh made a crucial intervention to deny the local striker.
Abd Muiz cuts the ball back to Blake Ricciuto whose shot was 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 gola of the season.
Tajeli struck a decent attempt from range but the ball ended safely to the experienced Wardun Yussof.
Warriors 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 the 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 wan a duel with a DPMM marker and called Wardun into action.
Gabriel made a marauding burst into DPMM's final third before unleashing a fierce drive which Wardun saved well but the danger was not over yet as Sabil fired home the equaliser.
Helmi Zambin produced an excellent delivery into the box as a looping header as 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 abttle with a Warriors player before laying the ball for substitute Razimie Ramlli.
Unselfish player fro Razimie led to a pass for Varankou who slotted home into an empty net for his 10th goal of the season.