Drazen Govic (L) of DPMM FC fights for the ball against Tampines Rovers FC during the 2009/10 S-League season in this file photo. Tampines will be the fourth team to face DPMM FC in the new S-League season. BT file
Singapore League champions, Tampines Rover made an early exit out of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) after a 2-1 extra-time loss to Hong Kong's South China AA on Sunday.
They were knocked out of the first qualifying round thanks to South China AA's Andrew Nikolas Barisic two goals.
The S-League website reported that South China AA took the lead in the 20th minute after Lee Wai Lim's low cross made it to the feet of Barisic before tapping it in.
Tampines Imran Sahib was showed the red card in the 34th minute after picking up his second yellow card of the match at the Clementi Stadium in Singapore.
Tampines marquee signing, Miljan Mrdakovic, who recently moved from Greece's Super League (top flight) club Veria, equalised for his team in the 64th minute, showing his fans that he is true to his word.
He was quoted on the S-League website saying, "Wherever I go, I score lots of goals and fans expect me to score more than 20 goals."
Lee scored the winning goal in a similar fashion to his first goal in the 102nd minute of the first half extra-time.
Mrdakovic was the second man to be sent off after he picked up his second yellow in the 113th minute.
According to the Tampines Rovers website, Stags coach Salim Moin was proud of his team.
"I think for us to have put up such a good fight against South China shows what an excellent performance it was," said Salim on the Tampines Rovers website.
"As you can see, we created more chances than South China in the first half. A few shots were only just saved off the line.
"Despite the two red cards, we showed great fighting spirit and this is one thing I really like about the players.
"I thought all the new signings were fantastic," added the coach.
Despite the loss, Tampines will still remain busy after being moved into the AFC Cup where they will face Hong Kong's Kitchee FC on Feb 26, Myanmar's Nay Pyi Taw FC and India's Pune FC in home and away matches.
The additional matches may turn out as a positive for the other S-League teams if the pressure gets to the stags.
They will be playing their opening S-League at their home ground, Clementi Stadium, against Home United, who finished third on the table last season.
DPMM FC will play Tampines in their fourth league game, hosting the visitors at Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas on March 23.
Before facing the defending champions, they will take on Jurong East Stadium to face Albirex Niigata (S) for their campaign opener on Feb 22.
DPMM FC will have to recover as fast as possible as they will be hosting the Warriors six days later.
Their third match in will see them face Home United at the Bishan Stadium on March 14.
New DPMM FC coach Steve Kean has seen his team win, draw and lose a match during their pre-season matches.
DPMM FC's most recent match saw them get held to a 0-0 draw when they hosted Kelantan in a friendly last week.
They picked up their win in the 2014 Phuket Saksee Cup when they took out Nakhon Si Heritage 3-1 on Jan 25 in Thailand.
DPMM FC then lost 2-0 to Phuket FC in the same tournament a day later.