The New Paper League Cup 2017: Wasps Clip Eagles’ Wings To Finish Top
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Brunei DPMM came from two goals down to share the spoils with Geylang International in a thrilling 3-3 draw in their The New Paper League Cup clash at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
With the result, DPMM progressed from Group B as winners with a superior goal difference after both teams are tied on seven points after three matches played.
Having bagged a hat-trick in their previous League Cup match against Tampines Rovers, forward Ifwat Ismail was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup. In addition, Geylang head coach Noor Ali also handed starts to four other Prime League players namely Noor Ariff, Alfian Jamari, Justin Sim and Haziq Raheem.
The game got off to a tentative start with DPMM having half-chances in the opening minutes of the game through Shahrazen Said and Khairul Anwar but they were unable to convert their chances.
The Wasps would however go in front on 20 minutes through Adi Said who chested Azwan Saleh’s cross-field pass before curling a sweet left-footed shot which sailed into the far corner past a rooted Syazwan Buhari.
DPMM’s joy at taking the lead were short-lived though, as Geylang pulled level just three minutes later with Coto sending a looping header over Awangku Mu’izzuddin to make it 1-1.
Maududi Hilmi came close with a firm shot which flew wide of Syazwan’s right-hand post in the 37th minute before Ifwat’s header at the other end moments later was too weak to trouble Mu’izzuddin.
Adi could have restored the lead for DPMM two minutes before half-time, but the 27-year-old somehow fired wide from three yards as the Eagles defence heaved a sigh of relief.
Sendra shot straight at Mu’izzuddin two minutes into the second-half and it was a warning sign DPMM failed to heed as the Argentinian put Geylang ahead for the first time in the match in the 49th minute.
Skipper Faritz Hameed’s cross was half-cleared only as far as Sendra’s volley on the turn looped over Mu’izzuddin before going in off the underside of the bar.
Noor Ariff then poked wide before the hour mark but there was no denying Geylang as Taufiq Ghani made it 3-1 from the spot in the 67th minute after Hazwan Hamzah had handled in the box.
Maududi handed the three-time winners a lifeline merely two minutes later, thumping a powerful shot into Syazwan’s bottom left corner to reduce the deficit.
Steve Kean’s side threw the kitchen sink at Geylang in a bid to equalise and could have done so in the 78th minute but Syazwan flew across to keep out Shahrazen’s effort which was destined for the top corner.
Khairul Anwar blazed over with eight minutes from time, but it was substitute Helmi Zambin who came to the rescue of DPMM as a clearance from a Geylang defender came off him before flying past Syazwan in the 84th minute.
DPMM then had to endure a late onslaught from the designated visitors in the closing stages, with Noor Ariff and Anders Aplin seeing their efforts kept out by Mu’izzuddin as both teams had to settle for a point each.
The semi-finals will see Geylang take on holders Albirex Niigata (S), while DPMM face Warriors FC with both matches being played on Tuesday, 18 July.
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: “I admit the first-half was poor, it was unlike us in this competition. We moved the ball too slowly, kept playing the ball backwards and never really asked questions of the Geylang defence.
“The second-half in contrast, was much better and even though it may have gone either way, I thought we shaded the overall chances throughout. You could see that both sides came into this wanting to win.
Geylang International Head Coach Noor Ali: “I was pleased with the result as this was a game about giving the Prime League players a chance. It’s good to see players really stepping up, which shows that there is a good future for Singapore football.
“Haziq (Raheem) and Justin (Sim) formed the backline led by Yuki Ichikawa and Faritz Hameed and they did well. They showed some inexperience but they will learn from this and hopefully this may be a chance for them to play a higher level of football in time to come.”
Brunei DPMM: Awangku Mu’izzuddin (GK), Haizul Rani, Hanif Hamir, Vincent Salas (Hazwan Hamzah 65’), Azwan Saleh, Adi Said, Rosmin Kamis (C), Nurikhwan Othman (Hendra Azam 65’), Maududi Hilmi Kasmi (Helmi Zambin 70’), Khairul Anwar, Shahrazen Said
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Faritz Hameed (C), Justin Sim, Yuki Ichikawa, Haziq Raheem (Anders Aplin 86’), Alfian Jamari, Taufiq Ghani (Nor Azli Yusoff 68’), Ricardo Sendra, Noor Ariff, Victor Coto, Ifwat Ismail (Amy Recha 80’)