Match Previews

Brunei DPMM vs Geylang International: Will DPMM lose at home again?

S.League | Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium | Sat 30 Apr| 8.15pm  

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Geylang’s opportunity to break a six-match winless run.

The lowdown

Brunei DPMM Form

  • DPMM 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)
  • DPMM 3-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)
  • DPMM 4-1 Garena Young Lions (S.LeagueA)
  • DPMM 1-2 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
  • DPMM 2-1 Home United (S.League)

Geylang International Form

  • Geylang 0-1 Tampines Rovers (S.League)
  • Geylang 2-2 Home United (S.League)
  • Hougang United 3-1 Geylang (S.League)
  • Geylang 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Geylang 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)

Just what has gone wrong with Geylang International? With a number of astute signings from the disbanded LionsXII and Young Lions, they were touted as dark horses for the title in pre-season.

The Eagles did start off the season well with gritty draws against last season’s top two teams Tampines Rovers and Brunei DPMM before beating the Young Lions 2-0.

However, things have gone a little pear-shaped since, with a 0-0 draw against Balestier Khalsa kick-starting a miserable six-match winless streak.

The poor run of form has seen them drop to seventh in the nine-team table, a massive 11 points behind leaders Albirex Niigata (S).

Geylang will have to recover fast, if not they risk finishing in the wrong half of the table for the sixth successive season (they have not finished in the top five since 2010).

It may seem like a daunting task for Hasrin Jailani’s side to go to Bandar Seri Begawan to get a result against Brunei DPMM at this juncture, however recent results have proved that it can be done.

The Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium has been a fortress of sorts for the defending champions in the last couple of seasons, but they have already lost two out of their six games there so far in 2016.

The Wasps thought they were on the way to another routine home victory last Friday when Azwan Ali poked them ahead on 54 minutes against Albirex, but the White Swans managed to turn things around via an Atsushi Kawata brace in the final 20 minutes.

That loss opened up a six-point gap between the two teams and you can bet that DPMM will come out all guns blazing in the game to avoid two consecutive home defeats.

Team News

Geylang are at full strength for this game, with Hasrin having an embarrassment of riches to choose from in attack.

Striker Sahil Suhaimi will most probably return, after being left out of the match-day squad altogether when they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Tampines.

DPMM will miss out on the services of left-back Sairol Sahari, who is ruled out for the remainder of the season after rupturing his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

However, they will welcome back Portuguese attacker Paulo Sergio, who missed the 2-1 defeat to Albirex due to suspension.

Key Battle: Rafael Ramazotti vs Daniel Bennett

Rafael Ramazotti can be a force to deal with in the air

Ramazotti is slowly getting into the groove after a slow start to the season, with four goals in as many matches before last week’s 2-1 reverse to Albirex. Still he contributed to Azwan Ali’s goal that night with a superb knock-on.

The 27-year-old Brazilian, who was last season’s Golden Boot winner, poses a threat to any defence with his aerial ability and lethal finishing.

Geylang’s key to stopping the in-form man is Bennett, who has been playing well since ending his 10-year association with Warriors FC.

Despite initial fears that age might be catching up with him, the 38-year-old centre back has proved the critics wrong - with his superb reading of the game enabling him to keep up with quicker attackers and make important interceptions.

The Coaches

DPMM coach Steve Kean has been vocal about his side’s defensive failings this season, highlighting individual errors and conceding unnecessary free-kicks as the key reasons as to why they have kept just one clean sheet in nine matches so far.  

As for Geylang counterpart Hasrin Jailani, the first-year coach is hoping that his outfit develop the killer instinct to get some wins out of the way – having already attained six draws this season.

Last Five Meetings

  • Geylang 1-1 DPMM (S.League, Feb ’16)
  • Geylang 2-1 DPMM (S.League, Nov ’15)
  • DPMM 3-1 Geylang (S.League, Aug ‘15)
  • Geylang 4-2 DPMM (League Cup, Jul ’15)
  • Geylang 0-1 DPMM (S.League, Apr ’15)

Facts and Figures

  • DPMM has the upper hand based on head-to-head records. In 15 match-ups, they won nine and drew four. On the other hand, Geylang won just twice.
  • The two sides met on the second week of this season, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw at Bedok. Sahil opened the scoring for the Eagles on 75 minutes, but Ramazotti scored just a minute later to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.  
  • DPMM have lost two of their six matches at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium this season, although they recorded just four losses in their last 20 matches there.
  • The last time DPMM suffered two consecutive home losses was in the 2014 season, where they were defeated 2-1 by Home United and 3-2 by Warriors FC.
  • Geylang are three matches away from matching their previous poor run of form in the 2013 season, where they went nine matches without a win in all competitions.

FourFourTwo prediction

DPMM does not want to lose two straight games at home, but Geylang are keen on improving their fortunes. Both sides can cancel each other out in a 1-1 draw then.

Photo: S.League