DPMM FC players Rodrigo Tosi (L) celebrates his goal with his teammates during their S-League match against Balestier Khalsa last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. BT/ Saiful Omar
DPMM FC's Roy O'Donovan (L) in action during their S-League match against Balestier Khalsa last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. BT/ Saiful Omar
DPMM FC shot back to the top of the Singapore League (S-League) after a 4-1 thumping of Balestier Khalsa FC last night.
A brace each by forwards Rodrigo Tosi and Roy O'Donovan at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas paved the way for the club's fourth straight win. The home side came out storming and were in full attack mode despite starting the match without the services of Rosmin Hj Md Kamis and Sairol Hj Sahari.
O'Donovan had his first chance of the game in the sixth minute but his shot from inside the box was saved by Balestier keeper Zaiful Nizam. DPMM FC got another opportunity in the 21st minute after a display of good individual skill by Tosi to skip his defender down the left only to see his shot denied by Zaiful.
Balestier couldn't push the ball forward but looked dangerous on set pieces. The Tigers had their first chance in the 26th minute through captain Paul Cunningham after he fired a freekick from the edge of the box over the wall but DPMM FC custodian Wardun Yussof did well to gather his attempt.
O'Donovan should have scored in the 35th minute after connecting on a Joe Gamble cross but the Irishman miskicked the ball. The DPMM FC marquee signing was causing havoc for the Balestier backline with his timely runs. Zaiful came to the rescue for Balestier to deny him in the 38th minute.
The former Sunderland striker was downed in the box by Syed Thaha four minutes later but his appeals for a penalty were waved off by referee Jansen Foo. O'Donovan finally broke the deadlock for DPMM FC just before the halftime whistle. It started from a long goal kick by Wardun which landed in front of Azwan Ali Rahman who pulled it back for Tosi.
The Brazilian would lob it over the defence for O'Donovan to chest it down and fire it past Zaiful. The Brunei side started the second half where they left off and continued to push forward. O'Donovan won a penalty for DPMM FC in the 59th minute after he was pushed down by Tajeli Salamat inside the box after receiving a cross from Roberto Alviz.
Tosi calmly slotted home the ensuing spot kick to double the lead for the home side. Cunningham had a chance for the Tigers four minutes later but could only skyrocket his shot from inside the box.
DPMM FC made it 3-0 in the 69th minute off a set piece and a scramble in the box. Defender Abdul Aziz Tamit got on the end of an Azwan Salleh corner to put it into the box for Tosi who easily tapped in his ninth goal of the season. Azwan Ali was put through on goal in the 75th minute but the Balestier keeper did well to get off his line to collect the ball.
Tosi almost scored his hat-trick four minutes later but his header off an Azwan Ali freekick went straight into Zaiful's hands. O'Donovan got his eighth goal of the season in the 81st minute after finding the back of the net from inside the box.
The almost perfect night was marred with DPMM FC failing to keep a cleansheet after a defensive error allowed Goran Ljubojevic to set up Kim Minho to bulge the net in the 86th minute. DPMM FC looked disorganised and were sloppy in the final minutes of the game and were fortunate not to concede more.
DPMM FC are now on 22 points, followed by the Warriors in second spot with 20 points. Tampines sit in third after a 1-1 draw against Tanjong Pagar United at the Jalan Besar Stadium. The competition continues today with Geylang International FC going up against Woodlands Wellington FC at Singapore's Bedok Stadium.