Rampant Stags Rout Wasps To Seal Second Spot
Written by: Kieran Willowson
Tampines Rovers cemented their status as the best local side in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League after thrashing Brunei DPMM 5-0 in Bandar Seri Begawan on Friday night.
DPMM would have still been in contention of snatching seventh place from Balestier Khalsa - who completed their season on Thursday - had they walked away with all three points but they could not make a late bid in restoring some pride.
In contrast, the in-form Tampines, who notched their fourth successive league win, have equalled their finish from 2016.
As in so many home matches this season, DPMM enjoyed a positive start in the opening 10 minutes after Rafael Ramazotti nodded wide a cross from Adi Said.
The visitors got a good opportunity after Japanese midfielder Ryutaro Megumi curled a low shot inches wide.
The Stags would duly put their noses in front from the run of play in the 21st minute after Shahdan Sulaiman volleyed home a cross from Megumi.
Tampines veteran Khairul Amri managed to find space after being marked closely by two DPMM defenders but contrived to shoot wide.
The Stags doubled their lead in the 35th minute after DPMM defender Hazwan Hamzah put the ball into his own net after getting a touch on Hafiz Sujad’s attempt which appeared to be off target.
Moments later, Azwan Ali was denied by the outstretched legs of Madhu Mohana after reacting to a poor back header from Shannon Stephen.
The visitors extended their lead after Amri latched onto a neat cross from Megumi.
DPMM made a double change with Awangku Mu’izzuddin replacing Wardun who picked up an injury while Haizul Rani was withdrawn for Shahrazen Said in an offensive move.
Azwan Ali lashed an attempt wide from the edge of the box while on the other end Amri hit a shot straight at Mu’izzuddin.
Madhu kept his header down from a Shahdan corner but it was not enough to trouble Mu’izzuddin.
Megumi, who proved a constant menace all night, arrowed his shot just wide before continuing his threat by skipping past a marker though his shot was blocked by Hazwan which went out for a corner.
Shannon stormed into the by-line before sending a low cross into the far post for Amri to steer home for his second goal of the game and the team’s fourth.
Ivan Dzoni then side-footed the ball home to complete the scoring in the 79th minute after a teammate sent a pinpoint cross into the area.
DPMM’s best chance of scoring in the second half came through Shahrazen who fired a powerful drive straight at Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, who had little to do all night.
Tampines’s win meant that nearest rivals Home United would not be able to catch them as they are now seven points ahead of the Protectors who play Geylang International on Saturday.
Brunei DPMM Assistant Coach Moksen Mohammad: “There was a lack of confidence as there were no cooperation among the players and we were easily exposed. Our midfield did not have any teamwork and that was our problem.”
“The teamwork between the midfield and defence is non-existent. Sometimes we cannot fault solely on the defender because the midfield also needs to work together. Teamwork is very important. Sometimes, the midfield will help out with the defence but it still doesn’t work.”
“We will work on the defensive aspect of the game because our defenders throughout the season have been disappointing. We’re hoping to complete the season (against Garena Young Lions) with a win.”
Tampines Rovers Head Coach Juergen Raab: “I was very happy because sometimes it is not easy to play a match in this position. The team knew that if we win, we are certain of the second place in the league.”
“Brunei DPMM, in this situation, has nothing to lose so I expect a hard job for the team. For the first 10 minutes, Brunei DPMM made it difficult for us and we struggled.”
“We got into the game with the first goal and after the second goal, we controlled the match. It was a really good performance from the team and the score was thoroughly deserved.”
Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof (GK) (Mu'izzudin Ismail 45'); Reduan Petara; Haizul Rani (Shahrazen Said 45'); Azwan Ali Rahman; Azwan Salleh (C); Hendra Azam; Helmi Zambin; Hazwan Hamzah; Rafael Ramazzoti; Adi Said; Vincent Salas (Mu'iz Sisa 35')
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK) ; Fahrudin Mustafic (C); Madhu Mohana; Son Yong Chan (Hafiz Rahim 70'); Shahdan Sulaiman; Ryutaro Megumi; Shannon Stephen; Fazli Ayob (Irwan Shah 56'); Daniel Bennett; Hafiz Sujad; Khairul Amri (Ivan Dzoni 70')