S.League | Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium | Fri 11 Mar| 8.15pm
Home United’s chance to end their winless start to the season.
After a rather disappointing 0-0 draw against Hougang United the last time out, defending champions Brunei DPMM will look for better fortunes back at the Hassanal Bolkiah den where they dispatched Warriors FC 3-1 two weeks ago.
Three goals in the first half-hour proved to be the difference between the two sides and that result remains as the Wasps’ only victory in four matches so far this season.
Brunei DPMM Form
- Hougang United 0-0 DPMM (S.League)
- DPMM 3-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
- Geylang International 1-1 DPMM (S.League)
- Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 DPMM (S.League)
- DPMM 3-1 Global FC (S.League)
Home United Form
- Home 1-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
- Hougang United 1-0 Home (S.League)
- Home 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
- Home 11-0 Police SA (Friendly)
- Osotpa Samut Prakan 0-0 Home (Friendly)
While they have looked out-of-sorts so far, DPMM are actually not that far off the pace.
Not many teams have been able to string a winning run together yet and as a result Steve Kean’s side are just two points adrift of current leaders Albirex Niigata (S).
Both had combined for 33 out of their 48 goals in DPMM’s title-winning year and were retained for their scoring prowess.
But till date, only Ramazotti has netted once so far in the 1-1 draw against Geylang International, while his strike partner remains without a goal since the final game of 2015.
The DPMM faithful will be hoping that they can find their form against a Home side which has yet to keep a clean sheet or pick up a win in their first three matches.
A lack of concentration has been Home’s main problem. They have taken the lead thrice this season in all games, but each time they have allowed their opponents to come back.
The table does not make for pretty reading for Philippe Aw’s charges, as they currently lie second from bottom and are one of the two teams alongside Balestier yet to pick up a win this season.
An away trip to Brunei may seem like a daunting task at the moment, but they can take heart from the decent record they had against the Wasps last season.
In the league, they held the champions to 2-2 and 4-4 draws at the same venue, while also getting a point in a 0-0 stalemate at Yishun (Home’s home ground in 2015).
The uniformed outfit then managed to overcome the Bruneians 4-3 over two legs to enter the Singapore Cup final, although Albirex were the eventual winners.
It will be interesting if they can keep this up to get their campaign up and running.
DPMM should be at full-strength for this game. Scottish centre-back Brian McLean missed last week’s 1-1 draw with Hougang due to a knee problem, but is expected to recover in time.
Home are similarly in good health, with many attacking options to call on. Ang Zhiwei, R Aaravin and Mahathir Azeman remain on the long-term treatment table.
Key Battle: Rafael Ramazotti vs Shahrin Saberin
Last season’s Golden Boot winner Ramazotti has been a pale shadow of his old self. He is not firing on all cylinders and can be anonymous in games at times.
The 1.93m hitman has been rather subdued, perhaps due to defenders having better knowledge of how to handle him.
He will certainly be looking to prove his credentials against a Home side which he scored against five times in 2015.
He will come up against Shahrin who has been doing well in the heart of defence, despite his relatively young age of 22.
With a good reading of the game and and willingness to get stuck in for 50-50 challenges, it will be interesting to see how he copes with the threat of Ramazotti.
Last Five Meetings
- Home 2-0 DPMM (SG Cup, Nov ’15)
- DPMM 4-4 Home (S.League, Oct ’15)
- DPMM 3-2 Home (SG Cup, Oct ’15)
- Home 0-0 DPMM (S.League, Jul ‘15)
- DPMM 2-2 Home (S.League, Mar ’15)
DPMM coach Steve Kean has emphasised on the need to stamp their authority in home matches, so do expect the former Blackburn Rovers tactician to set his team to go out all guns blazing – just like what they did against the Warriors recently.
Meanwhile Home counterpart Philippe Aw is not likely to shy away from their attractive brand of passing football despite playing away from home, so we may see the likes of Faris Ramli, Ken Ilso and Khairul Nizam all playing from the get-go.
Facts and Figures
- Home have a slight edge based on head-to-head records. Both sides have met 16 times in history, with Home winning six times while DPMM did so five times.
- Matches between these two sides rarely end up in 0-0 draws. That only happened on two occasions, once in 2013 and once in 2015.
- Home’s last victory in Brunei came in September 2014 where they won 2-1 via late goals from Song Uiyong and Kwon Dakyung, after Rodrigo Tosi had put the hosts into the lead.
- DPMM have lost just two out of their last 15 home matches.
- DPMM’s Ramazotti scored five times against Home in 2015, with four coming at Brunei – two apiece in the 2-2 and 4-4 draws.
- Home’s Ilso scored four times against DPMM in 2015, with all four coming at Brunei – one in the 2-2 draw and a hat-trick in the 4-4 draw.
Brunei DPMM 1 Home United 1. Clashes between both sides have ended in stalemates recently, so do expect this trend to continue.
Photo: Amber Teo / FFT