Balestier Come From Behind To Overcome DPMM
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Balestier Khalsa notched their second victory on the trot in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League as they came from a goal down to beat Brunei DPMM 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
DPMM took the lead through Rafael Ramazotti, but two goals in the space of four second-half minutes from Hazzuwan Halim and Raihan Rahman was enough for Balestier to earn all three points.
The first chance of note came nine minutes in when Azwan Ali Rahman latched onto a knockdown from Billy Mehmet on the edge of the penalty box, but could only blast over.
Balestier’s Shah Hirul then spotted DPMM goalkeeper Alizanda Sitom off his line before unleashing an audacious attempt which just cleared the bar.
The designated visitors would however get their noses in front in the 21st minute when a penalty was awarded after Hanafi Salleh dragged Ramazotti down from behind in the box.
Ramazotti dusted himself off and sent Zaiful Nizam the wrong way from the spot for his second goal of the season.
Finding themselves a goal down, Balestier came storming back and took the game to DPMM.
The 2014 Singapore Cup winners could have levelled matters in the 38th minute when Aung Kyaw Naing took a shot on the turn but Alizanda tipped the ball over for a corner.
The Tigers came close again two minutes later when Fadli Kamis rose highest to meet Hazzuwan’s corner but sent a header just over.
Tajeli Salamat then should have equalised a minute before the break when he got onto the end of a left-wing cross but somehow nodded wide with only the keeper to beat.
Balestier continued from where they left off and were eventually rewarded in the 56th minute.
Taking advantage of a defensive lapse at the back, Hazzuwan proceeded to lob the ball over a hapless Alizanda for the equaliser.
The Tigers then went in front for the first time on the hour mark with Raihan curling home a sublime free-kick which found the top corner, leaving Alizanda with no chance.
In a bid to rescue the tie, DPMM head coach Steve Kean then brought on Helmi Zambin and Adi Said to add more firepower upfront.
The latter nearly made an impact minutes after coming on, but drilled a low shot wide after cutting in from the left in the 72nd minute.
Alizanda then had to be alert to come off his line to deny Kyaw Naing on 81 minutes before Ramazotti volleyed over from close range two minutes later.
DPMM were reduced to ten men four minutes from time when Azwan Saleh was given his marching orders after a second bookable offence.
There was one final chance for the Wasps to steal a point deep into injury time but Ramazotti’s header was hacked off the line as Balestier hung on to move up to sixth in the standings.
Balestier Khalsa Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “We couldn’t drop too deep as they have two tall strikers (in Billy Mehmet and Rafael Ramazotti) who can cause problems and my plan was to push up the pitch as much as possible to put them away from the 18-yard box.
“We played well today but I thought we should have finished off the chances we had created throughout the game.”
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: “We never played well tonight and we were poor defensively.
“We didn’t pass the ball quick enough, even in the first-half when we were one goal up. We took too many touches and because of that, Balestier could get in and make tackles and blocks; we seemed a bit sluggish and slow in moving the ball around.”
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Fadli Kamis, Hanafi Salleh, Ashrul Syafeeq, Ahmad Syahir, Hazzuwan Halim (Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit 66’), Shah Hirul (Huzaifah Aziz 59’), Tajeli Salamat (Hanafi Akbar 80’), Raihan Rahman, Kyaw Zayar Win, Aung Kyaw Naing
Brunei DPMM: Alizanda Sitom (GK), Reduan Petara (Adi Said 70’), Azwan Saleh, Azwan Ali Rahman, Hendra Azam, Billy Mehmet, Najib Tarif, Maududi Hilmi Kasmi (Helmi Zambin 61’), Rosmin Kamis (C), Rafael Ramazotti, Zeljko Savic