Brunei DPMM confident of S.League glory
TAMPINES ROVERS v BRUNEI DPMM
(Tonight, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium, StarHub TV Ch 205 & 76.25MHz)
Only 90 minutes separate them from glory.
The scenario is simple for Brunei DPMM: Beat Tampines Rovers tonight, and they will go home with the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League trophy.
They may not even have to win.
With a superior goal difference to title rivals Warriors FC (34 to 17), Steve Kean's men need only to match the result of the Warriors-Albirex Niigata tie, which will be played simultaneously at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
Former Blackburn Rovers manager Kean said that it is important his players do not get overawed by the occasion.
Speaking to The New Paper ahead of a training session at Jalan Besar yesterday evening, he coolly said: "We just need to keep calm, play with our heads, and we'll get there.
"Also, if we can defend like we did against Albirex the other day, it would help our cause a lot. Our defending was exceptional."
This is a position every footballer dreams of, he added.
So, instead of the players letting emotions get the better of them, they should be relishing the moment.
The Scot said: "No, I don't think you feel nervous in these types of situations.
"You should be looking forward to it and feel excited. We've worked hard all season to be in this situation.
"So, yes, there will be some emotion but it should not be nerves, and we'll try to control it in any case."
On Tuesday, DPMM ended Albirex's title challenge with a morale-boosting 1-0 victory at the Jurong East Stadium.
But the win, their first in four matches, came at a big price.
Key midfielder Azwan Ali, who has been a revelation for DPMM over the last 18 months, and 15-goal striker Roy O'Donovan are suspended for tonight's fixture.
Azwan picked up his fourth booking of the season for time-wasting, while O'Donovan was red-carded for mouthing off to the official in injury time.
But Kean is not giving up hope of having their bans overturned, insisting that their cases are "not dead in the water".
With or without the duo, DPMM striker Rodrigo Tosi is confident of his side's chances.
Like his coach, the S.League's leading scorer with 23 goals said the key to success would be for the team to stay focused and go about their normal business.
The 31-year-old Brazilian has experience in clinching silverware on the final day of a campaign.
Back in the 2010/2011 season, he helped Swiss side Lausanne win the second-division title and gain promotion to the top tier.
"In this type of situation, you can't think too much," said Tosi.
"If you keep worrying about whether you will win, chances are you won't.
"We have not scored in just two games all season, so we are confident of scoring tomorrow.
"Plus, we like it here at Jalan Besar because the ball travels fast, and it's better for our game."
The scraggly-haired South American, who fired DPMM to StarHub League Cup glory in June with three goals in the tournament, broke into a wry smile when he reflected on DPMM's season.
They were seven points clear at the top at the halfway mark of the season, and were still five points ahead of their closest rivals before the S.League entered its third round of five matches.
But they failed to win any of their three games at their Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium home - losing to the Warriors and Home United before drawing with Balestier Khalsa - and that has resulted in tonight's less-than-comfortable scenario.
Tosi said: "We had many chances to collect points at home, but we didn't and in the end, it is complicated for us.
"Tonight will be another difficult match against Tampines. But it's a long season and we have done a really good job.
"Who knows? Maybe winning this way will make the title win even sweeter."