Match Previews

Brunei DPMM vs Warriors FC: Record winners eyeing League Cup respite

League Cup | Jalan Besar Stadium | Wed 13 Jul| 7.30pm  

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Last chance for both teams to attain silverware this season.

The lowdown

Brunei DPMM Form

  • Ceres La Salle 2-3 DPMM (Singapore Cup)
  • DPMM 0-3 Ceres La Salle (Singapore Cup)
  • Balestier Khalsa 1-4 DPMM (S.League)
  • Garena Young Lions 1-1 DPMM (S.League)
  • Tampines Rovers 4-3 DPMM (S.League)

Warriors FC Form

  • Hougang United 1-3 Warriors (S.League)
  • Warriors 2-0 Geylang International (S.League)
  • Albirex Niigata (S) 3-2 Warriors (S.League)
  • Geylang Int’l 2-1 Warriors (Singapore Cup)
  • Warriors 1-1 Balestier Khalsa (S.League)

The three-week long League Cup tournament represents a valuable opportunity for clubs to get their season back on track – not least for these two clubs in mention.

Reigning S.League champions Brunei DPMM have failed to replicate their sparkling form of 2015 as they found themselves trailing leaders Albirex Niigata (S) by 16 points with just eight games to go.

The Wasps did not enjoy good fortunes in the Singapore Cup either as they were ousted by Philippines invitees Ceres La Salle in the two-legged quarter-finals just a little over a week ago.

The League Cup is a different preposition altogether for DPMM though, winning the competition a record three times since their first participation in 2009. Moreover, most of the other clubs (bar Albirex) are missing key local players due to international duty.

Having a full squad at their disposal as compared to the rest surely means Steve Kean’s side ought to be amongst the frontrunners to win it again.

Their opponents Warriors FC are similarly trying to rescue a disastrous season, where they are languishing third-from-bottom in the league and were dumped out of the Singapore Cup in the first round by Geylang International.

Things are gradually improving under caretaker coach Razif Onn, but their bid to win the League Cup is not helped by the absence of defender Madhu Mohana and winger Hafiz Nor - both of whom have been named in V Sundramoorthy’s 25-strong squad for their upcoming tour of Japan and Cambodia.

Placed in a tricky group that also consists of Tampines Rovers and Hougang United, both sides are up against it if they want to reach the semi-finals.

Team News

While DPMM have not reported any major injuries or suspensions, it is a starkly different case for the Warriors.

Apart from the enforced unavailability of Madhu and Hafiz, defenders Shaiful Esah and Hafiz Osman will also miss out due to one-match suspensions carried forward from last year.

Captain Zulfadli Zainal Abidin will continue to miss out due to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury.

At least they can call upon the services of mid-season signing Jeremy Chiang, who has cleared the mandatory 2.4km fitness test.

Key Battle: Rafael Ramazotti vs Kento Fukuda

Fukuda needs to be at his best to stop the in-form Ramazotti

Unsurprisingly the key to beat DPMM is to stop Ramazotti from scoring. The towering Brazilian frontman is slowly rediscovering his lethal self, recording six goals in his last five outings.

With at least four defenders ruled out for this game, the responsibility to shut out the former will lie on the shoulders of stand-in captain Fukuda.

The 1.83m Japanese centre-back will certainly need to win his aerial duels against an opponent who is 10 centimetres taller than him.

The Coaches

DPMM coach Steve Kean is likely to continue deploying a three-man backline of captain Rosmin Kamis, Brian McLean and Yura Indera Putera to combat the threat of Warriors attackers Nikola Rak and Jonathan Behe.

Meanwhile Warriors coach Razif Onn have no choice but to make changes in defence – with the likes of Emmeric Ong and Ismail Yunos possibly coming in to fill in for Madhu and Hafiz Osman.

Last Five Meetings

  • Warriors 1-1 DPMM (S.League, May ’16)
  • DPMM 3-1 Warriors (S.League, Feb ’16)
  • Warriors 1-3 DPMM (S.League, Nov ’15)
  • DPMM 2-0 Warriors (S.League, Aug ’15)
  • Warriors 1-3 DPMM (S.League, Apr ’15)

Facts and Figures

  • DPMM has the upper hand based on head-to-head records. In 18 official match-ups, they won 10 and drew once, while the Warriors triumphed seven times.
  • The last time both sides met at Jalan Besar was in April 2015, where DPMM won 3-1 courtesy of goals from Ramazotti (two) and Paulo Sergio.
  • Both sides had met in the 2009 League Cup final, with DPMM triumphing 4-3 on penalties after the scores were locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
  • The Warriors has never won the League Cup in their history.

FourFourTwo prediction

A full-strength DPMM side should be too strong for the depleted Warriors. Kean’s side to nick it 2-1.

Photos: S.League