DPMM FC head coach Vjeran
Simunic admitted that he
is considering a shake up
to his starting lineup in
favour of a more
Picture: BT file
Vjeran Simunic is mulling a change in tactics ahead of DPMM FC's Singapore League Cup semi-final against Woodlands Wellington tonight.
The Croatian coach engineered a 5-2 comeback win over Tanjong Pagar United FC in Sunday's quarter-finals after replacing midfielder Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris with new signing Arturas Rimkevicius in the 33rd minute, the Lithuanian quickly forming a potent partnership with Portuguese Joao Moreira to erase a 2-0 deficit with five second half goals to put the defending champions through to the last-four.
Moreira bagged a hat-trick and Rimkevicius hit a brace in his debut, but with attacking midfielder Rodrigo Tosi and striker Shahrazen Said also expected to start at the Woodlands Stadium in Singapore tonight, Simunic admitted he has to rethink his normal squad selection in favour of a more attacking-minded side.
"I've already made changes during training to play all four of them," Simunic told The Brunei Times yesterday.
"I want to see how can they help... But the locals are ready to step up from the bench," reminded the Croatian, referring to other attacking options such as Shahrazen's brother Adi, Ak Fakharazzi Pg Hj Hassan and Helmi Zambin.
DPMM FC beat Woodlands 1-0 the last time the two teams met on March 31, with Moreira scoring the decisive goal at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
Despite seemingly entering the tie as favourites, Simunic doesn't buy into the line that Woodlands are underdogs especially since DPMM FC are seventh in the 12-team S-League and Woodlands just two point away at eighth.
"They've got three good South Koreans and their best one is striker Moon Soon-ho," he said during the telephone interview.
"They've had many good results in the past, have a good history and have won the (inaugural) League Cup in 2007," said Simunic, going on to add that "we're treating this game like any other."
Simunic also pointed out that Woodlands might be bolstered by the arrival of new Thai signing Theerawekin Seehawong, a former Gombak United midfielder who has already tasted League Cup glory after winning the competition with Gombak in 2008.
"I think he'll play if he gets his international transfer certificate (from Pattaya United) in time," said Simunic, who won the S-League Coach of the Year award last season after guiding DPMM FC to the League Cup and a second-place finish in the S-League.
The bench boss said he'd be watching the other semi-final tie between Albirex Niigata FC (S) and Balestier Khalsa FC which was scheduled for 7.30pm at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore last night.
However, the "unhealthy weather conditions caused by the haze" a record high Pollutant Standards Index of 290 as reported on the S-League website means the tie will be played tonight instead.