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Young Lions are set to face another daunting task at Jalan Besar Stadium as they take on Brunei DPMM in a Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League clash on Wedneday night, 23 May at 8.30pm.
By all accounts, three wins and a draw from 5 matches is a decent record from any side.
But that is not good enough for DPMM coach Rene Weber,who believes his side can achieve more a sthey aim to reclaim the league title they last won in 2015.
"Yes, I am happy about the team, but I tell them we cn do more," he explained. "They are training so strongly in a good way and have good techniques. Teshniques makes a differenceand we have it, but we just need to improve our organisation on the field."
DPMM's previous game was on May 13 a 2-1 win over Blestier Khalsa FC and the ten-day break gives them a clear advantage in terms of freshness against the Young Lions,who play for the third time in a week.
They will at least be galvanized by their comeback win against Hougang Utd,where striker duo Ikhsan Fandi and Naufal Azman both netted.
Ikhsan in particular will be gunning for more, after breaking his SPL duck since he made his debut for Home Utd 20 games ago in 2016.
There is an opportunity for the Young Lions to make history too;since the Brunei's club re-entry into the domestic league in 2012,the Young Lions have failed tobeat them in 16 league encounters.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Young Lions midfielder: "It is definitely important for us to get the three points because that will only boost our morale and confidence. Plying our third game in one week is definitely a challenge, plus it is also during Ramadan time.
"But I believe this is not something unusual for us because the Hassanal Bolkiah topurnament,we played back to back games.It is important for us to recover well and be ready to fight again.It is a challenge but it will not be an issue for us."
DPMM Head Coach Weber: "I am expecting a difficult game against Young Lions as they have a young team and power.It will not be an easy game,but I hope to win because we are becoming stronger game by game, and playing good football as I like to be.We have no advantage over them,they are a young team and also we will play...two games also in three days, so it is no excuses for anyone."
Brunei DPMM FC overcame a one-goal deficit to condemn Balestier Khalsa to a 2-1 loss in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League on Sunday night at Toa Payoh Stadium.
The Tigers took an early lead within two minutes of kick-off, with Brian McLean stabbiing his clearance straight at Hazzuwan Halim, who did supremely to rifle in the opener from just inside the box.
An instant response could have been made by DPMM at the other end, but Shahrazen Said could only drill his shot just wide of the post.
Content to protect their lead,Balestier sat back and were put under a sustained spell of pressure by DPMM./
But the hosts nearly doubled their lead in the 22nd minute, only for Hazzuwan to see his dipping freekick clear the bar.
Just after the half-hour mark,another counter nearly yielded dividends gor Balestier.Noor Akid Nordin drove his way down the left channel before finding Vedram Mesec, but the Croatian could only divert his effort past the post.
But DPMM came out a defferent side in the second half and were rewarded with an equaliser in the 55th minute.
Shahrazen played a one-two with Azwan Salleh before laying it on a plate for league top scorer Volodomyr Priyomov to smash home from close range to make it 1-1/
Both Shahrazen and his brother would then missed several chances,but the latter etched his name onto the scoresheet in the 64th minute.
Helmi Zambin won a penalty, which Adi cooly converted to set DPMM on their way to a first win in six matches at Toa Payoh.
They were helped by theit brilliance of goalkeeoer Haimie Nyaring,who prevented an own goal by Helmi in the 86th minute,before making a superb one-handed save to tip away Mesec's stinging drive.
Hazzuwan had the last chanced of the game as he found space at the edge of the box,but he failed to find the mark as the Tigers fell to defeat.
WHAT THEY SAID
Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: "In the second half, they started putting pressure on us and were more aggressive.We conceded the goal and it was tough for the young boys as we were not able to hold the ball.We were unlucky not to equalise; it was good last 20 minutes for usbut it was too late...the one cleared off the line, one shot by Vedran and one shot by Hazzuwan, we made a lot of chances but luck is not on our side tonight."
DPMM Head Coach Rene Weber:"It was a very tough match, we suffered again in the beginningbut the final result is important.In the second half,we played like our team is capable of.I hope we can,in every game, play like how we played in the second half today."
It will be a battle between two resurgent side at Toa Payoh Stadium om Sunday evening, 13 the May as third-placed Balestier Khalsa take on Brunei DPMM, two spots below them, in the Great Eastern Singapore Premier League.The match will kick offat 5.30pm.
2017 was preety much to forget for Balestier and DPMM as they finished third from bototm and second-last respectively.
A new campaign brings forth the opportunity to start afresh and both sides' fortunes have changed significantly this term.
Balestier sit third with 10 points from seven games,just nine points away from matching last year's tally.Much of the Tigers' successthis year can be attributed to the foreign attacking duo of Vedran Mesec and Keegan Linderboom.
In particular,the latter has impressed with his hold-up play and is the league's joint third top-scorer with four goals to his name.
However,one should not discount the work by the locals.Experienced goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam and roving right backFadli Kamis form the fulcrum of the team, while young players lke Shaqi Sulaiman and Noor Akid Noordin have stood out wth their fearless displays.
"The team spirit is great on and off the field; we're mostly always together wherever we go,"defender Sufianto Salleh said."Senior players like Zaiful and Raihan always keep the players on a high by motivating us and talking to us before the game.
"Coach Marko Kraljevic has trained us really hard from the first day of preseason and the team bonding we have off the field is showing in the strong performances on the field."
Meanwhile DPMM are in 5th with seven points from four -10 points off what they accumulated last season.Having a change a coach from Steve Kean to Rene Weber and a new foreign trio in the form of Volodomyr Priyomov,Mojtaba Mollasaraei and Brian McLean to replace Rafael Ramazotti,Daud Gazale and Vincdnt Salas seems to have done DPMM a world of good.
Former Shakhtar Donetsk man Priyomov has caught the eye with six goals,which has propelled him to the top of the scoring charts,while effervescent Iranian Mollasaraei has chipped in with two goals and three assists.
Long-serving forward Adi Said is enjoying himself in a three-proged attack as DPMM continue to rebuild under former Brazil Under-20 tactician Weber.
"We lost a great player in Ramazotti,but its good that we signed two new players from Ukraine and Iran," said the 27-year old,who is not into his seventh season with the club."They bring a different set of qualities to the team and I have to say its fun to link up with them in attack.
"Coach Rene's style is really different from Coach Kean's. He has good technical knowledge and his training is helping the team so far."
DPMM have a chance to close the gap between them and the frontrunners with a win, but history is agianst them - they have failed to win in six visits to Toa Payoh since returning to the SPL in 2012.
For Balestier, avoiding defeat will see them dislodge Tampines Rovers to go second in the table.
Volodomyr Pryyomov netted a brace to lead the scoring charts and make it six games without a victory for the hosts.
Warriors have only themselves to blame after failing to win yet again in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League on Wednesday night.
Kento Fukuda and Sahil Suhaimi scored inside the opening eight minutes to give Warriors a two-goal cushion,but the Volodomyr Pryyomov hit back with a goal in each half to earn Brunei DPMM a 2-2 draw.
The result was also Warriors' fourth draw in six games and they stayed rooted in seventh spot, while DPMM moved to fourth.
Warrors opened the scoring on seven minutes after Jonathan Behe's freekick was diverted into the post by Sahil,with Fukuda getting to the rebound first to score.
Sahil turned scorer a minute later after being released by a delighful through-pass from Poh Yi Feng, cutting inside his marker from the right and then lashing a precise finish into the bottom left corner.
A silly foul from Tajeli Selamat - deputising for the susoended Emeric Ong at right back - gave DPMM a way back into the match on 36 minutes.
As the ball was bouncing away from the box, the 24-year old needlessly tugged Mojtaba Mollasaraei back toleave referee Muhammad Taqi with no choice but to point to the spot. The ensuing penalty was coolly converted by Pryyomov.
DPMM nearly found the equaliser two minutes before the break after an Adi Said cross found Mojtaba, but the Iranian rifled his shot over from eight yards.
The visitors started the second half on the attack, with brian McLean drawing a fine save from Fashah Iskandaw with a freekick while Azwan Ali fired over a good chance.
Warriors were then dealt with a blow on 55 minutes after Fukuda pulled up what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was replaced by Hafiz Sulaiman.
The visotors pressure finally paid off on 67 minutes when the Warriors failed to deal with a long ball and allowed Pryyomov to abg his second of the night with a header into the bottom corner.
But the Ukrainisn spurned an easy chance for a hat-trick - and a chance to take the lead - after heading wide from Awan Ali's cross from inside the six yard box.
At the other end,DPMM were let off with Shamil Sharif's freekick coming off the crossbar, while Delwinder Singh headed just over from a corner.
The visitors started to tire towards the end but the Warriors just could not get another break through,with both sides having to settle for a point each.
WHAT THEY SAID
Warriors Head Coach Marko Grabovac:"My players must learn.Most if the game,we were the better team...the only problemis winning mentality.You can see how many mistakes we made in defence.Now we are starting to create chances with Behe back,but I still cannot believe how many mistakes we can make and how easily the opponents can score."
DPMM Head Coach Rene Weber: "We started badly again and only started playing after 20 minutes.I'm happy about how we played in the second half,but Im not happy with the result;we could have won the game.I reminded my players that there is no easy game in the league.I hope we can play the way we did in the second half for the entire game in the future."
The Warriors will be seeking for a change of fortunes against Brunei DPMM, although the visiting side look like a tough matchup, having dismantled two local sides already.
Of the four meetings both sides had last season,Warriors emerged victorious in three games and plundered in 12 goals in the process.That included a 5-1 thrashing they handed to the Bruneians in the League Cup - a game they were vastly superior in all aspects.
But any expectations of similar results for the Choa Chu Kang-based side would be almost impossible, given the difference in fortunes both sides are experiencing now.
Warriors are currently enduring their worst-ever start tot the season since professional footnall was introduced back in 1996, having not won in five games and earning just three points.Their previous worst starts were three games without a victory, which occured in 2012 and 2016.
They enter the match on the back of a 2-1 loss to Balestier Khalsa on Sunday- a game which saw them getting dominated for large parts of the game.The only positive note for them was Jonathan Behe's return from injury,having missed four games since netting in the opening game of the season against Geylang.Even better, the French striker bagged a goal coming off the bench.
Grabovac called on his side to put the defeat against Balestier behind them and focus on DPMM now.
"How can you feel after losing a game?We must forget the game against Balestier and prepare for DPMM," said Grabovac, who led Warriors to two league titles and a Singapore Cup as a player between 1999 and 2002.
But if Warriors any hope of turning things around on Wednesday,they may find it tough to do so despite having home advantage.
Brunei DPMM are a rejuvenated side this year.They have won two of their opening three games convincingly,with the only blip a 2-0 defeat to champons Albirex Niigata(S) at the Jurong East.In their pair of wins, they scored 4 goals each and the total of eight goals scored are the most they have had in their opening three games since 2012,when they scored eight as well.
Half of those goals were scored by Volodomyr Pryyomov.The former Shakhtar Donetsk forward has hit the ground running and looks to be one of the early favourites for the topscorer award.He has also mde two of the three Singapore Premier League's team of the week.
Still, DPMM coach Rene Weber is wary of looking too much into the form guide.
"They are a big club.Sometimes big clubs do not start well in the league and its normal in football...they are a still a great club in Singapore," said the 56-year old Weber.
"We are going to face an opponent looking to win their first game.It will be hard."
Warriors will need to count on a superb start to the game if they want to earn a result,given that DPMM have conceded three of a total five goals in the opening 20 minutes.It is also well worth noting that DPMM have won six of the last 10 meetups between both teams.