DPMM FC captain Rosmin Kamis sits on the pitch after their 4-0 loss to Balestier Khalsa FC in last night's Singapore League Cup final at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore. Picture: BT/ Jason Thoma
Balestier Khalsa FC won their first major piece of silverware after shocking Singapore League Cup defending champions DPMM FC 4-0 last night, adding more misery to the club's already dreadful season and ending their bid to win their third trophy.
Tenth in the 12-team S-League, DPMM FC were always going to find it tough going up against Balestier, a team which has now extended their unbeaten run to 18 games.It was easy to see why they have such a strong record as they defended with structure and attacked with urgency.
Exposing DPMM FC's frailties in defence, Balestier took a two-goal lead at the break and increased their dominance in the second half with more free-flowing football here at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Playing with little tempo or rhythm, DPMM FC seemingly self imploded after going 1-0 down and never looked like adding to to the League Cup trophies they won in 2009 and 2012.
Balestier found space by stretching play and hitting cross-field passes, and regularly looked to ping a through ball to Australian defender-turned-striker Paul Cunningham.
Brazilian defender Tales Ricarte dos Santos was assigned the task to mark Cunningham, and for the most part, had him on a tight leash.
But inevitably, it was that match-up which led to the goal.
A poor pass from dos Santos was stolen and put into the box in the 15th minute for an unmarked Cunningham to easily head the ball past a flailing Wardun Yussof with dos Santos arriving too late to challenge the Australian.
DPMM FC had a scare 11 minutes later when Cunningham played a one-two with a teammate but shot wide off the right post.
Balestier were soon rewarded for their pressure though, and an aimless header by Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi who was trying to clear the ball at the edge of his box was snapped up by Kim Minho.
Timing his run perfectly, the South Korean hit a killer volley which stunned DPMM FC in the 34th minute, with DPMM FC coach Vjeran Simunic later going on to say the two "cheap goals" led to their demise.
The club had Wardun to thank after the goalkeeper produced two vital saves in the next four minutes after coming out of his box to first deny Kim and then Yusiskandar Yusop.
Dos Santos was pushed forward as a striker after the team went 2-0 down and he had a chance to cut the deficit late in the half after connecting on a free-kick in what was really the only real shot on target DPMM FC had in the first half.
Realising the need to tighten up at the back, and also perhaps thinking that dos Santos' height would be put to better use up front, Simunic replaced midfielder Md Hendra Azam Md Idris with defender Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman in the second half.
After a series of Balestier corners, Adi chipped a shot which forced Zaiful Nizam to tip over his bar for a 52nd minute corner kick with the starlet later being replaced by Lithuanian striker Arturas Rimkevicius.
But Rimkevicius, and the rest of the team, soon found themselves with a mountain to climb after Poh Yi Feng made it 3-0 in the 68th minute.
Qiu Li cut past Shahrulrizal at the edge of the box, and though Wardun would block the shot, it was only to the path of the onrushing Poh who scored with the simplest of tap-ins.
Tosi had a header saved two minutes later and dos Santos missed a sitter after firing wide in the 75th minute, with Kim giving the visitors another heart-stopping moment a minute later when hitting the post.
The icing on the cake came four minutes before the break when Tengku Mushadad slotted past Wardun after a pass over the top, going on to celebrate the club's most historic win with his delighted teammates and their vocal fans.