Sim's clanger puts end to Akbar's Tampines perfect record

Tampines Rovers head coach Akbar Nawas' perfect start came to an end on Thursday evening after a 2-1 defeat in the League Cup by Brunei DPMM at Jalan Besar Stadium. 

The Stags appeared to have earned a point after Billy Mehmet converted a penalty late in the game to cancel out Adi Said's first-half opener.

But a blunder by goalkeeper Joey Sim just five minutes from time allowed DPMM to regain the lead and subsequently three points to finish the group stages with a 100 per cent record,

Tampines could feel hard done by the loss, as they were clearly the better team in the match.

Ariyan Malik should have put them in front in the 14th minute after finding space in the box but he sent an effort over before Gautam Selvamany hit the post after being played through by Mehmet.

I am sure Joey (Sim) will be disappointed with himself, but the team will back Joey up, so would I

- Tampines coach Akbar

The Wasps then went ahead against the run of play, after Najib Tarif was brought down by Fabian Kwok at the edge of the box and Adi Said smashed the resulting free-kick in off the bar in the 24th minute.

Sim was called into the action seven minutes later, as McLean nearly caught him out with a backward flick-on but he reacted in time to push the ball over.

The second half restarted to an effort from Saifullah Akbar but his half-volley from the edge of the box was tipped away by Wardun Yussof while Kwok's attempt from range rolled just past the post.

The game was then halted just before the hour mark due to inclement weather, but it resumed after 40 minutes.

Tampines continued to probe for the equaliser and it duly came in the 73rd minute, when Yura Indera Putera brought down Jufri Taha in the box and Mehmet calmly stoked the spot-kick home to make it 1-1.

The Stags then conceded in disastrous manner in the 85th minute, as Sim kicked the ball into Azim Izamuddin's path at the edge of the box and the midfielder capitalised on the mistake by slotting the ball into goal.

Webb tried his best but was unable to help Tampines salvage a point

Tampines were let off four minutes later, as Noh Rahman gave the ball away this time to Azim and the latter's lobbed effort bounced just wide.

Despite suffering his first defeat as head coach of Tampines, Akbar insisted he was happy with his charges, even his goalkeeper Sim.

"What a performance from them, I cant take anything away, the boys played their hearts out," Akbar said,

"It's not easy to play a DPMM team where physically you saw we we lost out with the younger players."

“I mean we are humans, who would not be disappointed? I am sure Joey (Sim) will be disappointed with himself, but the team will still back Joey up, so would I.”

DPMM coach Steve Kean on the other hand felt sorry for the Stags, as he ceded his team was second best all night.

"I'm delighted with the result but I felt Tampines played better than us today. They kept the ball better and passed better," Kean admitted.

"We just couldn't penetrate ... if I was in the Tampines dressing room, I would be feeling disappointed I didn't get much more from the game."

Photos: S.League