Tampines Rovers Aleksandar Duric (C) being marked by DPMM FC's Boris Raspudic (R) and Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis during their Singapore League game at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas on Sunday. Tampines beat DPMM FC 2-1 to move to the top of the table. BT/Md Asdeny Yakub
Tampines Rovers coach Salim Moin was full of praise for his side after they surged to the top of the Singapore League (S-League) on Sunday night.
The three-time defending champions withstood a dominant DPMM FC for a 2-1 comeback win at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, handing the hosts their first dropped points of the season.
The Stags have had a hectic schedule recently - they had a midweek clash against Indian side Pune FC in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup which they won 3-1 - but that hasn't stopped them from remaining the only unbeaten side in the S-League.
"I'm very proud of the boys as they showed good discipline," Salim told the media after a game in which the visitors were on the back foot most of the 90 minutes.
"They put up an excellent performance, showed good character and were well organised. I salute my players.
"We played through a hectic schedule and the players are very tired.
"We didn't even have much time to prepare for this game," he added.
Roberto Alviz gave DPMM FC the perfect start after rocketing home his first goal in DPMM FC colours in the seventh minute of the top of the table clash.
Current S-League top scorer with five goals, Miljan Mrdakovic equalised in the 56th minute after a defensive mistake by DPMM FC.
Shahdan Sulaiman then killed off the game with a strike in the 89th minute after another DPMM FC defensive lapse to complete the comeback.
The Stags, who had used all three substitutes by then, were basically down to 10 men after defender Abdil Qayyim picked up an injury in the 62nd minute.
Salim, though, didn't worry too much about the issue.
"It wasn't about being scared. It was just the fear that he (Abdil) may not last the game but he stood up very well," said the Stags coach when asked about Abdil.
"He showed strong mentality and knew that we had already used up all our substitutes. He wanted to be on the pitch," he added.
DPMM FC piled on the pressure against the visitors in the second half and should have walked away with the win, especially after skipper Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis and marquee signing Roy O'Donovan were denied by the posts minute apart.
DPMM FC lost the the 2012 S-League title by one point to Tampines but finished eighth last season - making Sunday's game all the more enticing.
"DPMM FC put up a marvelous performance and have shown a lot of improvement," said Salim.
"They showed unity and should succeed throughout the season. I believe they can go far in the competition," he added.