Match Previews

Warriors FC vs Brunei DPMM: Will Warriors continue their free-fall?

S.League | Choa Chu Kang Stadium | Thurs 5 May | 7.30pm 

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A chance for Brunei DPMM to inflict more woes on Warriors FC

The lowdown:

Things have not gone according to plan for Warriors recently.

The 2014 S.League champions have won just once in their last five games — a run of results that have seen them dropped to seventh in the league table.

It appears that the pressure is getting to them, especially coach Jorg Steinebrunner, who went on a tirade about referee Farhad Mohamad’s performance after last week’s 4-2 defeat to Tampines Rovers.

Warriors FC Form

  • Tampines Rovers 4-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Home United 2-1 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Warriors FC 0-1 Hougang United (S.League)
  • Geylang International 2-2 Warriors FC (S.League)
  • Warriors FC 2-0 Albirex Niigata (S) (S.League)

Brunei DPMM form

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

This comes as no surprise - after all, their target for the season was to challenge for the title. Yet as things stand now, it appears they are caught up in the battle to avoid finishing last instead.

With still two-thirds of the season to go, there is definitely enough time for Warriors to turn it around. But against a Brunei DPMM side reeling from back-to-back defeats at home, they might find it tough to do so immediately.

DPMM, the defending champions, are missing the touch of consistency that saw them lift the S.League trophy last year.

They have struggled to string wins together, and have already suffered four defeats in 10 games (they lost just five times in 27 games last year).

However, Steve Kean’s side did beat Warriors emphatically in their first meeting of the season, and there is no reason why they can’t replicate that.

Team News

DPMM will have an almost full squad on Thursday, the only exception being left-back Sairol Sahari, who will miss the rest of the season after rupturing his left anterior cruciate ligament.

On the other hand, Warriors will be missing first-choice goalkeeper Yazid Yasin, after the goalkeeper was sent off against Tampines.

Back-up Zainol Gulam will be expected to make his first-ever start in the S.League.

Key Battle: Paulo Sergio vs Kento Fukuda

Kento Fukuda will have his hands full as he takes on Paulo Sergio

The attacker has been influential this season, with most of the DPMM attacks going through him.

In fact, he has had five assists – a league-high – and a goal to his name after nine games.  As Geylang International found out last week, keeping him quiet is the key to stopping DPMM, although the Portuguese did earn the penalty that led to Rafael Ramazotti’s goal.

The task to stop Sergio will undoubtedly fall onto Kento Fukuda’s shoulders. The Japanese centre-back has been a standout performer for Warriors this season, and cannot be faulted for his team’s struggles.

While football is no doubt a team game, should Fukuda succeed in stopping Sergio on Thursday, half the battle should be won for the home team.

The Coaches

Steve Kean has been a frustrated man this season, especially with the way his side has failed to keep clean sheets (just one in 10 matches so far).

However, in DPMM’s defeat against Geylang, he was upset over how his charges wasted chance after chance, which put the pressure on them instead.

As for Warriors’ Jorg Steinebrunner, the outburst from him last week says it all really.

Past five meetings

  • 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)
  • DPMM 2-3 Warriors (S.League, Oct’ 14)

Facts and Figures

  • DPMM have failed to notch a win on their travels so far this year (two draws and a defeat)
  • Warriors FC ended the month of April without a single victory. It is the second time the club went a month without a win this year, having ended February in similar circumstances.
  • DPMM have won five of the last seven meetings against Warriors, with three of the victories ending in 3-1 scorelines.
  • DPMM have hit the woodwork eight times this season – the joint-most in the league
  • The only goalkeeper to save a penalty this season so far is Wardun Yussof, who stopped Jonathan Behe’s effort in the first meeting of the season between both sides in February.

FFT Prediction:

It’s hard to see past anything but a Brunei DPMM victory, considering how Warriors have struggled of late. 2-1 in favour of the Bruneians.

Photo: S.League