Tigers wary of Twin Towers of DPMM
Brunei DPMM to unleash six-footer attackers Mehmet and Ramazotti on Balestier
|BALESTIER KHALSA||BRUNEI DPMM|
Balestier Khalsa are bracing themselves for an aerial bombardment in their Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League match against Brunei DPMM at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow night.
The Tigers will have their hands full trying to contain DPMM's fearsome strikeforce - the twin towers of Englishman Billy Mehmet (1.89m tall) and Brazilian Rafael Ramazotti (1.93m).
Ramazotti has plundered 41 goals over the past two seasons for DPMM, while Mehmet scored 12 in his debut S.League season for Tampines Rovers last year.
Both players have scored just one apiece this season, but their coach Steve Kean is confident it is a matter of when, and not if, the goals start flowing from his big men.
"It will be a tough game against Balestier, but I am confident we can create chances and be as clinical in front of goal as we were (in the 2-0 win last Sunday) against Hougang," the former Blackburn Rovers manager told The New Paper in a phone interview yesterday.
"It is going to be difficult for any defence to keep us quiet."
Balestier's defenders, however, are up for the challenge.
Last Sunday, the Tigers snapped a three-match winless run from the start of the new season by posting a 1-0 win over the Garena Young Lions.
They will be in for a much sterner test this time round, but centre backs Hanafi Salleh (1.74m) and Ashrul Syafeeq (1.81m) believe that whatever they lose out in terms of size, they make up for in spirit.
It is going to be difficult for any defence to keep us quiet.DPMM coach Steve Kean
"The main thing we have to do is close them down early and stop them from receiving the high balls," said Hanafi.
"We are confident we can pull off a result because we are hungry for it."
Added 22-year-old Ashrul: "We are a younger squad and, of course, we'll be the underdogs.
"But, that being said, we play every game with our hearts out and, if we work as a team, I believe anything is possible."
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic has instructed his players to keep a close eye on Mehmet and Ramazotti, as well as Bruneian playmaker Azwan Ali, the S.League's best young player in 2015.
"On the ground, I think the two strikers are not very speedy," he said.
"Our main aim is to keep them far from the penalty box.
"We need to move them away from the penalty box and keep them out of the air as they have good height and are physically very strong."
The German-born Croat added that team unity would be key to keeping DPMM's vaunted frontline quiet.
"Everybody must defend," he said.
"From the strikers, to the midfielders, to the back four, and to the goalkeeper.
"Everybody from the top to bottom must work hard to close the DPMM players down fast."
- WARRIORS FC v YOUNG LIONS (Saturday, 7.30pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
- HOUGANG UNITED v HOME UNITED (Sunday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)