Late Ramazotti Brace Rescues Point For Wasps
Brunei DPMM came from two goals down to hold Balestier Khalsa to a 2-2 draw in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at Toa Payoh Stadium on Monday night, courtesy of a superbly-taken double by Brazilian front man Rafael Ramazotti.
Balestier had looked set to collect their third win of the season after goals in each half from Huzaifah Aziz and Raihan Rahman put them two up on the hour mark.
However, Ramazotti scored twice in the space of 12 minutes thereafter to salvage a draw for DPMM.
Balestier got off to the best possible start by scoring after just six minutes.
Huzaifah swept the leather into an empty net after DPMM custodian Awangku Mu’izzuddin had fumbled a Hazzuwan Halim free kick.
The Tigers were absolutely dominant in the first half and should have added more goals before the break.
Hazzuwan Halim was running the show and could have scored on 19 minutes when teed up by Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit, but was denied at point-blank range by Mu’izzuddin.
The 23-year-old then had an ambitious try from fully 30 yards out in the 37th minute which Mu’izzuddin had to stretch to keep out.
DPMM returned for the second half with much more vigour and should have levelled matters four minutes after the restart.
Nurikhwan Othman looked odds-on to convert after Balestier failed to clear their lines from a free kick, but his snapshot was denied by a stunning reflex save by Zaiful Nizam.
Balestier then doubled their advantage on 60 minutes, with Raihan curling home a stupendous free kick after Jonathan Tan was brought down by Haizul Rani on the edge of the area.
DPMM coach Steve Kean reacted by introducing the Said brothers – Shahrazen and Adi – thereafter to give Ramazotti more support upfront, which reaped the dividends.
The Wasps duly pulled one back in the 70th minute, with Ramazotti prodding in from close range after Balestier’s failure to defend another set-piece.
He should have scored again on 80 minutes when his header from Abdul Mu’iz Sisa’s deep cross seemed destined for the top left corner before Zaiful’s diving intervention.
Nonetheless, the towering Brazilian would grab the equaliser two minutes later as he powered home a superb header into the bottom right corner from Shahrazen’s teasing right-wing cross.
The visitors could have stolen all three points at the death if Nurikhwan had more composure to convert in front of goal after a half-cleared free kick.
Both sides eventually settled for a point apiece, with Balestier staying at seventh with 10 points from 17 games while DPMM remained a spot lower with five points from 14.
Balestier Khalsa Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “It happens when you’re 2-0 up and the opponents put a little bit of pressure. We were in trouble after DPMM made the two substitutions, they were putting in in crosses and we had trouble dealing with Ramazotti.
“But there’s lots of positives to take away. We were playing well and dominating the game, especially in the first half. We trained hard with the combination of Hazzuwan and Jonathan in attack.
“It’s just that as a young team, we got to learn to deal with pressure. We were rushing in unnecessary situations like throw-ins when we were still leading.”
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: “I’m actually disappointed with the result (despite coming from two goals down to draw). We had enough chances to win the game, their keeper (Zaiful) made three fantastic saves.
“I gave them a roasting at half time because heads went down after our keeper made a mistake for the first half. We could have prevented it if we had two to three defenders going back to the line to clear.
“In the second half, we put in the Said brothers and they gave Ramazotti the service. We pinned the Balestier defence back in their own box and it was like a training session.
“Our first half of the season was dreadful but I believe we can finish the season strongly.”
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Fadli Kamis, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Raihan Rahman, Ahmad Syahir (Hanafi Salleh 88’), Huzaifah Aziz, Kyaw Zayar Win, Tajeli Selamat (Khairuddin Omar 87’), Hazzuwan Halim, Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit, Jonathan Tan (Zulkhair Mustaffa 74’)
Brunei DPMM: Awangku Mu'izzuddin (GK), Haizul Rani, Abdul Mu'iz Sisa, Hazwan Hamzah, Vincent Salas, Najib Tarif (Shahrazen Said 62’), Nurikhwan Othman, Rosmin Kamis (C), Helmi Zambin, Daud Gazale (Adi Said 62’), Rafael Ramazotti