DPMM FC's Adi Said (L) dribbles the ball during yesterday's training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
DPMM FC coach Steve Kean (R) speaks to his players during yesterday's training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium. DPMM FC will play the Young Lions at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas tonight. Picture: BT/ Yee Chun Leong
DPMM FC will not take anything for granted against the visiting Young Lions (the Singapore Under-23 squad) in their Singapore League (S-League) match tonight.
Brunei's only professional team have never lost to their opponents - winning four times and drawing once - in five meetings.
DPMM FC are currently in fourth place with 10 points while their opponents are second from the basement in the 12-team table with only one point to their name.
Despite the disparity in the standings, DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean feels that these are the kind of matches which prove to be more challenging.
"I always think that these games are in a strange way just as difficult. if not, more difficult than playing against teams at the top of league," said Kean in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
"We may be better on paper but we all know that games are not won on paper. We will respect the other team and make sure we give them that," he said.
"They are a team filled with young players who will be eager to impress and try to get results
"We must try to grab control of the game as early as we can. If we play anywhere near like against Tampines then I'm sure we will do very well," continued the former Blackburn Rovers coach.
Having won their opening three games without conceding, DPMM FC are in a minor slump after a 2-1 loss at home against Tampines Rovers and a 1-1 draw against Geylang International respectively.
Asked if there were any defensive concerns, Kean replied: "I think the beauty of the first three games is that not only the back four were playing as defenders.
"We were stopping the ball before it got to the back four. Defence starts from strikers and we need to get back to pressing the ball high up the pitch.
"We have not allowed many shots at goal. Last match (against Geylang) we only allowed one shot on target but it went in. Those stats show that we are defending well as a team," he added.
"I actually thought there was a foul on Wardun (Yussof) and normally we would get it but unfortunately we didn't," continued Kean.
DPMM FC have shown that they have got plenty of firepower upfront with Rodrigo Tosi, who have four to his name, and marquee signing Roy O'Donovan.
However, Kean believes that there is plenty of work left to be done.
"We have been working on our finishing all week. I think we get a little bit excited in front of goal.
"We have been practicing on being composed in front of goal. We keep creating and we should be scoring more than we have," added Kean.
Midfielder Hj Md Subhi Abdilah Hj Bakir is the only player unavailable for DPMM FC with a minor knee injury.
On the other hand, Young Lions head coach Aide Iskandar feel that his charges have nothing to lose against the Brunei-side.
"We are the underdogs but we will go out to do our best. We know that they are a strong team and this will be a good test for the Young Lions to go up against a quality team," said Aide.
"They have got a good strike force with Tosi and Roy upfront as well as a good midfield.
"I challenge my boys for a strong performance. They will need to stay focus and compete throughout the whole match," he added.
"Getting one point out of the game is already a good result considering we are playing away in Brunei. Getting three would definitely be a bonus," concluded Aide.
Spectators stand a chance to win return air tickets to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur sponsored by Royal Brunei.
There will also be eight consolation prizes in terms of t-shirts.
Kick off is at 8.15pm.
Meanwhile, Tampines suffered their first defeat of the season after losing 4-2 to Hougang United at the Hougang Stadium in Singapore last night.
Hougang came out firing on all cylinders for a 3-0 lead just after 12 minutes with goals by Geison Moura (7th and 11th minutes) and Diego Oliviera.
Aleksander Duric pulled one back for the Stags on the hour mark before Oliviera netted his brace in the 74th minute to kill off the match.
Shahdan Sulaiman scored a consolation for Tampines in the 80th minute.
The victory propels Hougang to third with 11 points while Tampines continue to lead the standings with 15 points.
In the other match, Home United edged Balestier Khalsa with a 2-1 scoreline at the Bishan Stadium.