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Warriors FC threw away the opportunity to bring an advantage into the second leg of their first round RHB Singapore Cup tie against Brunei DPMM after being held to a 2-2 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
It looked like the four-time champions were crusing to victory after leading 2-0 goals from Jonathan Behe and Ignatius Ang,but DPMM produced a rousing comeback to earn a share of the spoils thanks to strikes from Brian McLean and Volodomyr Priyomov.
Of a five unbeaten streak in the SPL, Warriors started the game in confident fashionand managed to open the scoring after just eight minutes.
After Tajeli Selamat's solorun was halted by Ak Fakharazzi juat outside the area,Behe stepped to curl home a superb effort that nestled into the bottom right corner for his 18th goal in all competitions this season.
Priyomov then lashed into the side netting from 20 yards out,but it was the Warriors who grew from stregth and eventually doubled their advantage through a good team move on 35 minutes.
Receiving Tajeli's cross-field pass on the right,Emmeric Ong swiftly laid the ball off for Ammirul Emmran,who in turn releasing Ang.He needed just one touch to steady himself on the edge of the box, before friring a crisp shot into the left corner past the helpless DPMM goalkeeper Haimie Nyaring.
The visitirs comeback began on 65 minutes.After a half-cleared freekick fell to Azwan Ali Rahman,he was allowed to space to drive in a right-wing cross for Priyomov.The latter's first-time volley was tipped onto the post by Warriors custodian,Mukundaran Maran, but McLean was was on hand to tuck into an empty net to set up a nervy finale.
Encouraged, DPMM piled on the pressure in the dying stages and their efforts paid off in the 84th minute.
Adi Said wriggled freeof two defenders before teeing up Priyomov,whose snapshot from the edge of the area somehow evaded Mukundan and flew for his 14th goal in all competitions.
DPMM could have made it 3-2 two minutes later,but Mukundan redeemed himself by tipping Priyomov's spectacular left-footed volley from 20 yards onto the post.
It eventually ended all square and both sides meet again in the second leg at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Sptember 19 with thetie posed on a knife's edge.They will also faced each other in a league meeting at the same venus four days prior
WHAT THEY SAID
DPMM Head Coach Rene Weber:"I told the players in the dressing room at halftime that "our team do not play like this'.We lost everything in the first half...we lost passes, we lost organisation. If Warriors scored more, we are finished.
"In the second half, we started to play football.Our goalkeeper took the balland started passing to the defenders,whereas in the first half we just played long balls.Im happy with that and now we have another game to play."
Warriors Head Caoch Mirko Gabovac:"In the first half we played well...But in the second half,we lost concentration and I don't know what happened.We should have been 3-0 or 4-0 up;we played very good soccer and created good chances.
"Im not happy that our fitness went down and we should played a more compact shape at 2-0 up.But I'm still happy with how we played and there's still a second leg to come."
The Young Lions held Brunei DPMM tp a 1-1 drae in a heated affair in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night.
The visitors opened the scoring through Shahrazen Said at the start of the second period, before Ikhsan Fandi leveled the score within two minutes from thr spot.
Ikhsan threatened within four minutes of the opening whistle when he unleashed a ferocous grounde rthat hit the right post, before gliding across goal behind goalkeeper Haimie Nyaring and out for a goal kick.
DPMM had the next opportunity when Brian Lean towered above the rest,off an Azwan Ali corner, only to see his header go narrowly wide.
The visitors had another glorious chance to take the lead on 22 minutes when aAzwan capitalized on a defensive lapse and was clean through on goal.Instead of taking a shot, he opted to lay it off for Volodomyr Priyomov who saw his shot palmed by an alert Zharfan Rohaizad.
It was Azwan who caused mayhem yet again on 28 minutes whe he released Shafie Efffendy, who failed to score from a tight angle as Zharfan closed him down.
DPMM's dominance was telling but Rene Weber's charges just failed to find that final touch in the attacking third and both teams went into the break with level terms.
The second half got off to a blistering start as DPMM scored the first goal within a minute of the restart.
Azwan released substitute Shahrazen Said down the left and the winger ghosted between two Young Lions defenders before curling an unstoppable shot into the far corner past a stranded Zharfan.
Barely two minutes later,Youg Lions substitute Haiqal Pashia was fouled by McLean in the box to allsos Ikhsan the chance to slot home his seventh goal of the season from the spot.
DPMM thought they had retaken the lead on 53 minutes when Shahrazen scored from a corner,but the referre ruled it out a foul on Zharfan.
Things began heating up as both teams were guilty of rash tackles,with Azwan's high boot on Syahrul Sazali the pick of the lot.
Tensions continued to build up with every passing minute as both beches were up on their feet,with tensions threatening to boil over.
Ikhsan almost scored his second in the 70th minute, but his brilliant turn failed to match ed by his shot that went into the sidenetting.
With nine minutes left on the clock,Shahrazen almost got the winner when he glided past three defenders only to thump the ball intot the Jalan Besar floodlights with only Zharfan to beat.
The result left DPMM stuck in fourth place while the Young Lions stay seventh with their fifth draw of the campaign.
WHAT THEY SAID
Young Lions Head Coach Fandi Ahmad:"This was a very physical game.Both sides played very hard, we know they are vying for second or third position but it was good to see my boys getting stuck in and match them.
"In the first half,we had injury problems but we did a lot better in the second half.We played well in thr first 15 minutes but them allowed them to control.They are strong and physical but my boys never pulled back.
"With Pashia,he wasn't able to train yesterday but we knew he always has that 30 to 35 minuutes where he can do something special so we deliberately wanted to use him for the second half."
DPMM Head Coach Rene Weber:"My idea about the game is we lost too many goal-scoring chances in the last five games.For a team looking to be in the top four of the league, this is not ideal.
"Against Tampines, we lost three chances.Against Home Utd, we lost chances again.This game, we could have sealed the game in the first half with the chances we had.So my thougnis when you have the chance to score, you must score.
I speak this a lot with the players.If we don't create chances,soemthing is wrong but if you have two to three chances in each game and don't score, you don't get the result.
"The Young Lions are a young team and probably did better in this difficult period when we have five games in 15 days .We could have played better but we spent too much energy and there is not enough time to recover between each game."
DPMM FC head coach has encouraged his charges to preserve a strong mentality which they demonstrated in their last league match ahead of the clash against Home United in the SPL at the Hassanal Bolkiah NAtional Stadium tonight.
The head coach wants his side to show the fighting spirit especially against the top teams adding the playing against them hellps elevate their performace into a higher level.
"I'm happy with how we play and how we fight especially in the second half against Tampines.We need to have a mentality where we fight," said Weber in an interview.
"We are improving in terms of teamwork and we can play better becausewe have the quality and the technical capacity.We can prepare the team to be strong because technical capacity is important in football.We can work more on the physical capacity with a good programme.
"I am happy with the way we play and I also hope that we do something in the cup,"he added.
Hendra Azam will be available for selection after missing the Tampines game through suspension following an accumulation of yellow cards.
DPMM FC head coach Rene Weber has called his charges to deliver a good performance ahead of their Singapore Premier League match against Tampines Rovers at the Tampines Hub in Singapore tonight.
DPMM,who have two games in hand over their next opponents, will be looking to reduce the gap with second-placed Tampines to seven points with victory.
Although Weber is only preparing his side to face the Satgs for the first time this season, he is already versed with how they will line-up with experienced duo Fahrudin Mudtafic and Daniel Bennett marshalling the defence.
"They play with three defenders with Mustafic and Bennett playing on the left side.I saw a lot of their games and their coach was also there when we played against Geylang," said Webb in an interview after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium on Monday.
"They know how we play but we also know how they play.They are an experienced team and they control the game especially the three defenders.They know how to keep the ball and organise the team."
Weber also acknowledged their strengths are not limited in defense with Japanese Ryutaro MEgumi and Jordan Webb lighting up the channels on the attacking front and was effusive in his praise of midfield maestro Yasir Hanapi.
"They have quality players and are experienced.They are showing this on the field because they have been winning and they are second on the table,"the former Under-20 Brazilian coach added.
However,Weber who was also former Atletico Mineiro assistant manager highlighted that the Stags can be stopped if they approach the game in the right manner.
"When we play against three defenders it is not easy because they organise the team and they put more players on our field.But they also give space to us for the counter-attack.
"There are many games in July but it is not about complaining.It is about going there to win.It is very important to get a good result and I know it will be a difficult game.In the league there are no easy games.
"We have good players and we have good quality here.We have some weaknesseswhich I want to improve but we are improving game by game.We will also get more confidence if we beat Tampines."
Weber also revealed that Tampines are the second best team in the league after current league leaders Albirex Niigata (S).
Vlodomyr Priyomov was the two-goal hero for the visitors at Our Tampines Hub,opening the scoring in the 40th minute before sealing the victory when he converted from the spot nine minutes after the restart.
With leaders Albirex Niigata (S) beating Hougang United 2-1 on the same evening,the Stags are now 14 points behind with just ten games left to go.
It could have, however, been a far different story had Tampines made the most of their chances in the second half.
They were not helped by the fairly lacklustre start they made to the game,which afforded their opponents control of proceedings in the opening 45.
DPMM duly broke the deadlock five minutes before the break when Mojtaba Mollasaraei's incisive pass sent Adi Said racing in behind the opposition defence.
Advancing into the box, Adi unselfishly squared the ball to Priyomov, who sent an emphatic finish into the top corner for his 10th goal of the campaign.
Just three minutes into the second half, the Bruneian outfitwere presented with a glorious opporti=unity to double their lead when Shameer Aziq was adjudged to have handled Adi's right-wing cross following an unfortunate bounce.
It was no surprise that Priyomov stepped up to the spot and he made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Syazwan Buhari the wrong way to pit his side further in front.
By now, the visitors were firmly in control of proceedings, but, to their credit,Tampines then turned it up a notch in a bid to get back into the contest.
Yasir Hanapi had Haimie Nyaring scampering to his near post with a free-kick into the side-netting in the 61st minute,before Khairul Amri had a couple of decent efforts but was just unable to find the target.
Then, a moment of controversy arose in the 72nd minute when Amri failed to cleanly connect with Fazrul Nawaz's flick-on,only for Haimie to fumble the ball and seemingly take it over the line.
But, with the linesman not flagging, the referee was left with no optionbut to wave away Tampines' vehement appeals.
Another appeal in the 81st minute, this time claiming for handball inside the area after another Amri attempt was blocled, was also dismissed.
The Stags finally awarded a penalty in injury timewhen Amri was felled inside the box by Helmi Zambin but Fazrul spurned the opportunity by blazing wildly wide,allowing DPMM to seal a result that could yet prove to be pivotal in the title race.
Tampines coach Jurgen Raab: "For me, its a big surprise how we played in the first half.Coming into this game on the bac of two wins,I expected us to start with confidence and make the next step in securing second place.We were in a position to enjoy the match but no one was willing to take a risk and I must say we played terribly.In the last half-hour,when we started to play,we actually showed the kind of football we're capable off but maybe in the end we didn't deserve anything from this game."
Brunei DPMM coach Rene Weber:"The right word to use today is 'teamwork'.Particulaerly with the way we defended,it was a good performance because one of the areas we talked about is for the players to come back and help out in defense.And you saw that today with Adi and Mojtaba on the wings - they came back to help.Tampines are an experienced team and we knew it was a big challenge to win this game.Sotoday is good performance,but we can do better."