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Balestier Khalsa FC Head Coach Marko Kraljevic wants his side to salvage some pride for local teams as they take on Brunei DPMM FC on Wednesday evening,26th September at Jalan Besar Stadium in the first leg of the Singapore Cup semifinal at 7.45 pm.
No local clubs have won any domestic silverware since Warriors FC's league triumph and Balestier's Sinagpore Cup success in 20114.
On the other hand, DPMM and Albirex Niigata FC (S) have been sweeping up accolade after accolade, with the White Swans successfully retaining their title this season already.
In fact, the last Singapore Cup final featured two foreign club, with Albirex beating Global Cebu to retain the trophy for a third season in a row.
Kraljevic could not hide his dismay at the current state of affairs,having been part of the local scene his Balestier Central days.
"We need to work harder and show the fans that we can be ebetter.Its not good for foreign teams to be in all the finals all the time," Kraljevic said.
"We need to raise our game and foir our boys to be more competitive."
The Tigers will have to fight to earn a spot in the season-ending final though,as DPMM demonstrated their might with an eventual 5-2 aggregate win over Warriors FC.
Azwan Ali and Volodomyr Priyomov were among the goals in DPMM's last game and Kraljevic highlighted them as threats to his team's hopes.
But he believes his side will need little motivation to take to the game to the DPMM and put on a show.
"This is a chance for a spot in the final, the boys won't need much motivation other than that.We are always ready and everyone is looking forward to the game," he declared.
DPMM FC enhanced their prospects of finishing as runners-up in the Singapore Premier League after edging ine-man Tampines Rovers 2-1 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium last night.
The "Gegar-Gegar" men raced to a 2-0 lead following a second half double from Volodomyr Priyomov and though Daniel Bennett's 78th minute goal for the visitors handed a mini scare, the hosts saw the game out for a priceless win.
Volodomyr also enhanced his hopes for the top-scorer award after his surge of form saw him two goals behind leading marksman Shohei Hoshino of Albirex Niigata(S) and one behind Warrriors FC forward Jonatahn Behe.
The hosts came close in breaking the deadlock after Azwan Ali's decent effort clipped the bar.
the visitors carved a decent chance from outside the box after forward Taufik Suparno's effort sailed over the bar on the other end.DPMM FC forward Volodomy Pryiomov sliced his effort wide.
Yasir then arrowd his shot wide from range albeit little harm to the DPMM goalkeeper Haimie Nyaring.
Azwan Ali provided a fine ball into the middle but Volodomyr took a slighly heavy touch as Madhu Mohana was able to track him down and clear the danger.
Yasir got into the end of a Ryutaro Megumi cross but could not apply the perfect connection to trouble Haimie.
Azwan Ali curled a good drive outside the box but ended well wide off the far post despite Tampines goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari beaten.
Three minutes fater the restart,Volodomyr directed his header into the bottom corner after connecting from a Hendra Azam cross for his 16th goal of the season.
The Stags were reduced to ten men after Fahrudin Mustafic was sent off for a professional foul after Volodomyr Pryiomov outran him.
The lethal Ukrainian striking assassin doubled the lead with another header agter guiding the ball in the near post with Adi Said heaving a hand with another assist.
Tampines pulled one back after defender Daniel Bennett bear his marker to direct his header home.
The visitors' task of leaving with a point to their travel got even harder after Yasir became the second player to be shown the red card.
Ryutaro somehow found the way past the defence but was left with no room for a clear shot as DPMM put more bodies in the box.
The home side near;y killed the tie after Daniel Bennett could only clear into the path of Adi Said who saw his sot brush against the post.
But there were still late drama at the end as the hosts were reduced to ten men after Azwan Ali was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Warriors FC's hopes of a first RHB Singapore Cup triumph since 2012 were dashed by Brunei DPMM in a resounding 3-0 defeat in the second leg of their first round tie at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on wednesday night.
The visitors came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the first leg at Jalan Besar Stadium in late August, but it was a more straightforward affair this time.
Shahrazen Said and Azwan Ali Rahman put DPMM two goals up within the first 30 minites before Volodomyr Pryiomov added the icing on the cake late on in a game that was played in muddiy conditions.
Adi Said continued his imperious from this season with a wicked-wing cross that found the elder brother Shahrazen at the far post to head in.
Warriors custodian Mukundan Maran kept his side in the game with a series of saves as the 20-year old turned away Azwan Ali's long-range strike on 14 minutes, before producing a stunning reflex save to top away Shahrazen's snapshot a minute later.
He then denied Azwan Ali twice,rushing out well to close the angle in the 21st minute before smothering a close-range effort five minutes later.
The hosts did have couple of chances,but Fadhil Noh and Janathan Behe spurned their opportunities.
DPMM doubled their advantage on 28 minutes when Azwan Ali expertly turned past his marker in the box before trashing a clean shot past Mukundan from eight yards.
Hafiz Sulaiman's header off Tajeli Salamat freekick clipped the crossbar before going over as thr Warriors rallied, but they failed to convert any of the numerous chances they carved out.
Behe fired straight at Haimie from just outside the area on 47 minutes, before somehow lashing wide of the left-hand post from a similar distance 15 minutes later.
Khairul Nizam tehn failed to meet Behe;s cross with the goal gaping, before Haimie denied Behe again.
Substitute Ho Wai Loon then fired over from just inside the area on 80 minutes after Behe's shot was palmed away and he would turn villain soon after.
On the stroke of full time,Ho copped a straight red card for a horribly mistimed challenge on Azwan Ali and Priyomov smacked in the ensuing freekick from 30 yards to seal victory.
DPMM's night ended on a slightly sour note though as Head Caoch Rene Weber given his marching orders after an argument with the officials.
His team will face Balestier Khalsa in the semifinals,with the first leg at Jalan Besar Stadium on 26th September.
WHAT THEY SAID
Warriors Head Coach Mirko Grabovac:"DPMM had a really good game with their attacking force.They made two goals in the first half, but we made some changes and were very good attacking-wise in the second half I don't know how we never scored a goal.If we had one goal back,it would be a different game.
"This DPMM teamis just too tough to beat and we just have to focus again for the league to finish in the top five."
DPMM Team Manager Ali Momin: "We were very happy with the way we played,especially in the first half where we controlled the game and scored two goals,we were disciplined in our defending to stop Warriors from scoring.
"For Weber's sending off Coach was angry with the referee's decision;usually he's very cool but today he lost control.These things happen.
"We have not won the Singapore Cup since joining the SPL, so thats our main target right now."
Warrors FC fell to their second 2-1 defeat to Brunei DPMM for the season, with a brace from Volodomyr Priyomov helping the visitors to turn tie around on Saturday evening at the Chao Chu Kang Stadium.
Warriors had taken the lead first through Kento Fukuda, but Warriors failed to keeo the lead- the fourth time they have done so this season against DPMM.
The defeat means that they are virtually out of the running for the fourth spot in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League table - they trail DPMM by six points with just two points to go in the season, while DPMM also have a game in hand.
It could possibly be a psychological blow for the Warriors'Singapore Cup hopes, they play DPMM again on Wednesday in the second leg of the first round, with the aggregate score at 2-2.
Warriors had the brighter start to the game,with Jonathan Behe forcing Haimie Nyaring into a save rearly on.
But DPMM came very close to breaking the deadlock in the 11th minute through Azwan Ali,who pounced on a loose ball nea rthe halfway line and fired a first-time volley that crahed off the bar,.
A minute later, Najib Tarif sprung the offside trap but his effort from his weaker left foot wwas not enough to trouble Makundan Maran.
DPMM kept up the pressure and Mukundan was forced into a superb save with his leg to prevent Azwan Salleh's powerful effort from going in. From the resulting corner, Brian McLean nodded wide.
The young Warriors goalkeeper was once again called into action in the 22nd minute,after Adi Said was allowed to cut in and get a shot away.
Fadhil Noh then saw a volley curl narrowly wide,before Aziz Tamit screwed his shot with an open goal waiting,after Azwan Ali had picked him out with a freekick.The ball fell nicely for Adi and the forward caught it sweetly,only for Hafiz Sulaiman to block it right on the line.
DPMM were left to rue those misses,as Warriors found the net a couple of minites later.
Khairul Nizam managed to get onto the end of Shamil Sharif's floated freekick and smartly nodded it to the far post for Fukuda to score with a simple tap-in.
The lead lasted for just eight minutes though.Nobody tracked Priyomov's run as Azwan Ali floated in a free-kick and the Ukrainain flicked the ball into the net from point-blank rabge.
Shahrazen Said then spurned a glorious chance,smashing a rebound well over with Mukundan beaten.
Warriors started the second half brightly, with Amminul Emmran hitting the post with curling effort four minutes after the restart.
But DPMM slowly grew ascendancy and Prioyomov out them ahead in the 70th minute with a highly contentious effort.
A shot from Adi forced Mukundan with a decent save,but Azwan Salleh was first to the rebound and his pass found Priyomov to tap in,with the Warriors players claiming he was in an offside position.
The home side were almost gifted a goal in the 82nd minute, when HAimie allowed Suhaimi 's shot to slip through his grasp and bounce just wide of the goal.
From the resultign corner,Emmeric Ong planted a header just wide and DPMM were able to hold off Warriors for the remainign 10 minutes in the game.
WHAT THEY SAID
Warriors Head Caoch Mirko Grabovac:"I am frustrated...for the second goal,everybody can see the number 10 was on the line...he must be offisde.Again, the concentration was missing in the second half.
"They must be better in defending set-pieces.The set-pieces from them are very dangerous.Most of the game,they scored from there.Every time we practice it in training, but this still ahppens.We have to see how we can improve in two or three days.
"Sure, we will be chnaging something on Wednesday, bit I can't say it now.Nizam was fine, Shamil was ok today.Some of the players came from the national team, some had injury(so they didn't play today).We are going to see,but for sure we will change something.
"We had chances to score again...sometimes the players who are coming into the game from the bench have to prepare better.
DPMM Head Coach Rene Weber:"It will be a different game on Wednesday-they have a good team It will be a game number five against them this season.
We played here before, the field is not so good.The main point is whn you beatan opponent, you know how they play but they also know how we play - and a knock out match is a different challenge.We lost two players today to injury...I hope they can play in the next game."
A crucial match at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturday awaits for both Warriors and Brunei DPMM with the fourth spot in the Singapore Premier League at stake.
Warriors are currently on a five-game unbeaten run in the SPL, a strak that offers a glimmer of hope after a disastrous start to the season.
Currently occupying fifth spot,they are in with a shout of finishing the season in the top four - which would represent somewhat of a success considering that they were closer to the bottom three than the top four after the first round of season.
The only problem for the Warriors?Brunei DPMm currently sit in fourth spot with a three-point advantage and a game in hand.
That makes it paramount for the Warriors to secure a win for a top-four finish to happen for them.
The game also takes on more significant importance,given that Warriors will also be facing the s ame team next week in the second leg of the Singapore Cup quarterfinals.
In the first ;eg,Warriors led 2-0 before allowing DPMM to come back and draw,prompting Warriors head coach Mirko Grabovac to express his dissatisfaction with how his side threw their lead away.It was also a mirror of how the match between both sides at the start of the season unfolded.
Warriors defender Dalwinder Singh has called for his side to "not let this slip up again."
"We will look at it positively ant that since we were 2-0 up,why not go one further and capitalise on the mistakes they make and make it count?" he said.
"We also will be wary about the threats they possess and they'll be capable of coming back, so we need to be tighter at the back as a team."
Dalwinder also added that it doesn't matter whether its the league or the cup,for the team will strive to "go all out and take all the points" they can.
Meanwhile, DPMM head coach Rene Weber said that DPMM will not be holding back in either games.
"We have two decisive games and it is our target to finish in the best position we can in the league, as well as advance in the Singapore Cup to take on Balestier in the semifina;," he said.
"We will need to play both games with the same concentration because we want to be third or even second in the league and our main target is to go all the way to the cup final.
"We know it will be difficult.Both teams know each other and it is amust for us to play with some strategy."