Brunei DPMM target record Cup win on Saturday
Bruneian club advance to Saturday's final as Protectors falter in front of goal
BRUNEI DPMM FC 1
(Rafael Ramazotti 27)
HOME UNITED 0
Brunei DPMM FC are just 90 minutes away from etching their names into the record books.
The Bruneian outfit, who won the trophy previously in 2009, 2012 and 2014, booked their spot in the final of this year's The New Paper League Cup after they scraped past Home United 1-0 in their semi-final last night at the Jalan Besar Stadium. They are now one win from a record fourth triumph.
The Wasps will square off against Albirex Niigata in the final on Saturday after the Japanese side defeated Tampines Rovers 4-0 in the other semi-final played in Jurong West.
DPMM, the defending Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League champions, have had a season to forget up to this point, having crashed out of the RHB Singapore Cup and lying 16 points adrift of league leaders Albirex with eight games left.
But their performances in the League Cup have been encouraging and coach Steve Kean wants his charges to carry their good form into Saturday's final, and for the remainder of the S.League season.
"Ironically, it was the game against Home United in May that made us change our style of play," the former Blackburn Rovers manager said.
"We got smashed by five and that was the turning point to how we approached games and credit to the players who have been working hard in training.
"I am sure Home would agree that we were hard to break down today and I am delighted we have made it to the final.
"Now, we expect to win games whenever we play and to keep clean sheets. We are confident that we can win this competition."
Home had the lion's share of possession in the first half, but their good work was undone by poor finishing.
DPMM could have found themselves a goal down after just six minutes, but were let off after Sufianto Salleh failed to get a touch to Ken Ilso's teasing cross.
The Wasps created a gilt-edged opportunity of their own two minutes later when Adi Said exchanged a neat one-two with Rafael Ramazotti, but the former's attempt at goal was blocked well by defender Lionel Tan.
From then on, it was all Home but they were unable to find the breakthrough as Shamil Sharif, Song Ui Young and Aqhari Abdullah all failed to convert well-worked chances.
DPMM eventually punished the Protectors for their wastefulness in the 27th minute.
Adi cut inside his defender before unleashing a rocket that clattered off the crossbar, but the Home defence failed to clear their lines and Ramazotti was on hand to sweep home the loose ball.
The second half picked up from where the first had left off with Home pouring forward.
They went close yet again in the 58th minute after fullback Juma'at Jantan went on a lung-bursting run down the right flank before sending in a low cross that Sufianto failed to convert just metres from goal.
The Protectors thought they had finally levelled the tie in the 74th minute, but were left holding their heads in their hands.
Shamil did well to take down Aqhari's lofted delivery into the penalty box before sending his defender the wrong way with a drop of his shoulder, but his resulting shot was brilliantly saved by Wardun Yussof.
DPMM defended resolutely for the rest of the game and hung on for the win.
Said Home coach Philippe Aw: "In the second half, we created so many chances, but we failed to put them away.
"But this is it, you don't score goals and you don't win games.
"Now, we have to focus on the league where it will be hard to overtake Albirex but, mathematically, it is still possible and we will keep plugging away."
- BRUNEI DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Helmi Zembin, Awangku Fakharrazi (Shah Razen Said 73), Brian McLean, Yura Indera Putera, Hendra Azam (Azim Izamuddin 86), Rosmin Kamis, Maududi Kasmi, Najib Tarif, Adi Said, Rafael Ramazotti.
- HOME UNITED: Hyrulnizam Juma'at, Juma'at Jantan, Haziq Azman, Lionel Tan, Sirina Camara, Sufianto Salleh (Mahathir Azeman 59), Syahiran Miswan (Yeo Hai Ngee 85), Aqhari Abdullah, Shamil Sharif (Amir Zalani 89), Song Ui Young, Ken Ilso.
- TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: Wardun Yussof (Brunei DPMM)