S.League title chasers DPMM upbeat after draw
Kean looks on the bright side despite only closing in on leaders by one point
HOME UNITED 0
BRUNEI DPMM 0
It might seem as if Brunei DPMM missed a great chance to close the gap on Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League leaders Warriors FC after last night's 0-0 draw with sixth-placed Home United at Yishun Stadium.
The result meant the Brunei outfit stayed third on the table, four points off the pace with one game in hand.
But DPMM coach Steve Kean did not complain about his side's failure to pick up maximum points in what ultimately proved to be a scrappy affair.
Instead, an optimistic Kean said: "This could be a really good point for us. Especially in the last couple of seasons, Home have been difficult opponents for us.
"I think there were more positives than negatives from the match, and I certainly see this as a point gained rather than two points dropped."
The stalemate was a fair result considering neither side dominated proceedings, with the long break since their last competitive fixtures appearing to have affected the sharpness of players on both sides.
It was Home who shaded the opening 45 minutes and they created the only real chance in the 28th minute when Abdil Qaiyyim Mutalib met Azhar Sairudin's free-kick with a looping header that was headed clear by Boris Raspudic before it could find the top corner.
The visitors did find their rhythm after the break and had the ball in the back of the net in the 63rd minute through Paulo Sergio, who pounced on the rebound after Rafael Ramazotti's initial header had been saved. But the strike was chalked off as the latter was flagged offside.
As the game entered the closing stages, Ramazotti looked the likeliest to provide the breakthrough but it was not to be as the Brazilian was denied by a fine save by Shahril Jantan, before dragging a shot just wide with nine minutes remaining.
Next up for DPMM is a rigorous spell that will see them play four matches in two weeks, but Kean believes his side can make the most of it by picking up momentum.
"I felt last year we lost a bit of rhythm and momentum due to the stops and starts of the schedule," said the Scot. "But now the games will come very fast for us, I think the really tough programme will suit us.
"I think the more we play, the more rhythm and fluidity we'll have."
Like Kean, Home coach Philippe Aw also praised his charges despite the draw on their own ground.
"Of course, we're disappointed not to take all three points," he said. "But there weren't really any clear chances, so I think it was a fair result.
"What was most pleasing was how hard the boys battled.
"From day one, we've always talked about having a team mentality and it's serving us well."
- HOME UNITED: Shahril Jantan, Ang Zhiwei, Abdil Qaiyyim, R Aaravin (Juma'at Jantan 53), Sirina Camara, Yasir Hanapi, Song Ui-young, Stanely Ng (Ambroise Begue 46), Kamel Ramdani, Azhar Sairudin (Redzwan Atan 79), Ken Ilso.
- BRUNEI DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Rosmin Kamis, Sairol Sahari (Helmi Zambin 90), Maududi Hilmi (Adi Said 78), Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam, Najib Tarif (Azwan Saleh 78), Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.
- TNP Man of the Match: Boris Raspudic ( Brunei DPMM)