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National developmental side hold Kean's champions, earn praise
GARENA YOUNG LIONS 1
(Hazim Faiz 67)
BRUNEI DPMM 1
(Rafael Ramazotti 32)
When Rafael Ramazotti opened the scoring for Brunei DPMM in the 32nd minute, it looked as if last night's Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clash was only headed one way.
The wonder goal by Ramazotti wowed the crowd of 1,209 at the Jalan Besar Stadium, but if anyone thought the Garena Young Lions would drop their heads, they were in for a surprise.
The national developmental side, consisting mostly of Under-21 players, took the fight to DPMM after the break, making their goalkeeper Wardun Yusoff work.
All the pressure on the visitors paid off in the 67th minute, when Hazim Faiz took advantage of a mix-up in the DPMM defence to stab home from in the box.
After a 6-1 hiding by Tampines Rovers last week, Young Lions assistant coach V Selvaraj said they are satisfied with a point.
He said: "We gave him (Rafael) too much space, and we paid for it in the first half.
"Second half, we bounced back and this time I think the boys gave a much better performance, especially in the first 20 minutes when we scored the equaliser.
"We are happy with a draw, compared to our last game where we conceded six goals."
In their 16 league games so far, they have lost 11 and won two - their opening game where they beat Balestier 1-0 and a shock 3-1 triumph over Warriors FC last month.
The Young Lions lost 4-1 to DPMM in April in Bandar Sri Begawan and, at the time, the Brunei outfit's coach Steve Kean had predicted they would be a different side with time.
Kean duly gave credit to the Young Lions.
He said: "From the first game we played against Young Lions, I knew they were going to get better.
"As the season goes on, young teams tend to get better as they get to know their coaches and teammates better when they start to play as a team.
"It doesn't matter if you go one, two or even three up, they don't get down and they just keep coming at you.
"We were the ones pushing them in the first half but, in the second, it was the Young Lions pushing us and we were the ones trying to hold on."
- GARENA YOUNG LIONS: Benjamin Bertrand, Amirul Adli, Joshua Pereira (Hami Syahin 46), Fareez Farhan (Muhaimin Suhaimi 75), Hazim Faiz, Shannon Stephen, Adam Swandi (Gareth Low 87), Khairul Amri, Dhukhilan Jeevamani, Firdaus Kasman, Rusyaidi Salime
- BRUNEI DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Brian McLean, Azman Salleh, Azwan Ali (Shahrazen Said 81), Paulo Sergio, Najib Tarif, Maudidi Kasi, Rosmin Kamis, Helmi Zembin (Aminuddin Zakwan 75), Rafael Ramazotti, Abdul Aziz (Yura Inderea Petera 63)
- TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: Hazim Faiz (Young Lions)
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Ronaldo goes from prolific to profligate for Portugal
So prolific at club level, the skipper's inability to spark Portugal threatens to stain his legacy
Cristiano Ronaldo still considers himself to be "The Man" of world football.
That narcissism, in spite of Lionel Messi's continued dominance of the never-ending contest between the pair, drives on a player defined by his photogenic appearance, box-office persona and a club honour roll that is the envy of so many other world-class footballers.
Beneath that facade, however, are cracks that even his cocksure superficiality fails to mask.
At Euro 2016, Portugal's talisman continues to be exposed as little more than a mere mortal.
It was another of those occasions as his country eked out a second frustrating Group F stalemate, this time against Austria yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Ronaldo's enduring nightmare of profligacy is becoming a recurring theme at the Finals, just as it has proved for Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the similarly misfiring captains of England and Sweden, respectively.
FIGO V RONALDO
His latest ordeal arrived on what should have been a joyous encounter as he finally overtook Luis Figo as the country's all-time appearance holder. But therein lies the difference between the wing wizards of Real Madrid past and present.
Figo inspired both club and country to elevate themselves to the highest levels - not unlike Eusebio all those years ago - while Ronaldo's on-field quest for personal gratification has hindered as he flatters to deceive for Portugal.
Relatively menial opposition, in the form of Iceland and Austria, had made the task of affirming his status as Portugal's absolute footballing leader a mere formality.
Yet, he has continued to toil as though he is doing battle with the likes of Barcelona or France.
Ronaldo is no stranger to the big stage; 21 days before floundering at the Parc des Princes, he had triumphantly flexed his pectoral muscles after scoring the decisive penalty in the Champions League final shoot-out win over Atletico Madrid.
But, when the occasion dictates for Portugal, he has often gone missing.
Failing to dispatch from 12 yards against Austria, just three weeks after that euphoria in Milan's San Siro, was symptomatic of the flaws which continue to cast a shadow over his sceptre.
He has broken more records than Simon Cowell, most recently having more attempts on goal (20) than any other competing nation at Euro 2016, but it counts for little in the grander scheme.
It has become a recurring theme in his international backstory, with performances in the Euro 2004 final against eventual winners Greece and Germany in the World Cup, a decade later, unlikely to prominently feature in his career's show reel, if at all.
Desperately bidding to again become the show-stopper that rose to prominence during his formative years at Manchester United and continued at the Santiago Bernabeu showed just why Ronaldo is incapable of going it alone for Portugal.
NANI V BENZEMA
That is partly attributable to the paucity of his peers.
Luis Nani and Joao Moutinho are not in the same league as Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, Ronaldo's teammates at Real.
With a collective 56 goals scored by the starting line-up in Paris compared to the 58 accrued by the 31-year-old in his own right, it is little wonder Portugal face a struggle to make it out of Group F.
True to form, Ronaldo will refuse to acknowledge his own failings in that predicament for Fernando Santos' side.
One of the world's greatest players has already turned the ire for his embarrassment on everyone other than himself.