Albirex fail to pull away from Tampines after DPMM defeat

Albirex Niigata (S) suffered their second consecutive defeat in the S.League as they fell 2-1 to Brunei DPMM at Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium on Friday night. 

Coupled with their loss to Tampines Rovers in the previous round, Albirex have now seen their seven-point lead at the top reduced to a mere point as the Stags keep close behind.

This match came on the back of DPMM's recent 2-0 loss to Albirex in the League Cup final, and they showed their determination to avenge that defeat within the opening moments of kick-off.

It took seven minutes for the game to see its first chance, with Rui Kumada’s header turned away by DPMM goalkeeper Wardun Yusof.

Two minutes later, Rafael Ramazotti tested Yosuke Nozawa with a piledriver before the striker hit a header onto the bar in the 19th minute.

The deadlock was finally broken on 29 minutes, with DPMM awarded a penalty after Maududi Hilmi was brought down by Nozawa in the box. Ramazotti converted the resulting spot-kick put the hosts 1-0 up.

In the second half, DPMM nearly scored a fluke goal as Hendra Azam cross-shot sailed just past the top right corner in the 51st minute.

Albirex then pulled themselves level in the 55th minute, as Kumada beat the offside trap and buried the ball past Wardun.

The striker could have given his side the lead thereafter, but he saw his shot come off the post on the hour mark.

The White Swans paid dearly for that miss, as Albirex failed to clear Hendra’s corner and Yura Putera was left with a simple finish to give DPMM their first win over the visitors this season.