DPMM FC's Shahrazen Said (R) shoots the ball during a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium in April. DPMM FC will meet Home United in the S-League match tonight. BT/Yee Chun Leong
Shahrazen Said (pic) will be handed his first start of the season when DPMM FC host Home United FC in the Singapore League (S-League) tonight.
The match at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas will also be the first time the free scoring duo of Rodrigo Tosi (12 goals) and Roy O'Donovan (11 goals) will not start alongside each other as the latter is suspended having picked up his fourth yellow card of the season in their 1-0 loss against Warriors FC at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore on May 22.
Shahrazen, who was DPMM FC's top scorer in the 2012 S-League season with 13 goals, has been given the chance to fill the void. Though there is plenty of work to be done, the 28-year-old is ready to shoulder the load.
"I'm feeling a bit of pressure as there is a big gap for me to fill," said the DPMM FC forward in an interview with The Brunei Times after yesterday's training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium. "I'll need to play at the level of Roy because he has been doing his job brilliantly.
"I'm confident though, especially having got on the scoresheet in the last game (against Global FC in the Singapore Cup on May 31). "I'll take any chance that I'm given.
"I hope that we will be able to play like how we did against Global in the second half (when DPMM FC scored all seven goals) and gain all three points tomorrow," continued the 28-year-old. The only S-League goal that Shahrazen has netted this season was in a 4-0 victory over Tanjong Pagar United at home on May 9 when he came on as a late substitute.
DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean feels that Shahrazen is in good shape and is ready for the challenge. "It is always difficult when you lose a striker and we have been working with Shahrazen this week," said Kean.
"We are encouraging him to play on the shoulder of the last defender and do what he is good at. by using his power and strength. "He has got a good bit of confidence after coming on the other night and scoring a good goal," added the Scotsman.
DPMM FC beat Home United 3-0 in their last meeting at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore back in March. Kean feels that it will be a different ball game tonight though, and expects a tough outing against the fourth-placed side.
"We are expecting it to be another tough match. Home United are a good side and are in good form," said Kean. "We have to make sure that we start off the game like how we were in second half against Global. We need to approach it with the same intensity where we had over 500 passes and 20 shots in the match," he added.
"We dominated and overpowered them (Global). That is what we intend to do against Home," continued the former Blackburn Rovers manager. Croatian Roberto Alviz will be fit for the game having recovered from a hamstring injury and Azwan Ali Rahman is well rested after missing the Cup tie against Global.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, Home United head coach Paul Lee is expecting nothing less than three points but knows the level of difficulty for the encounter. "DPMM FC are a strong side and have very good foreign players. They may be missing Roy, but we will also be missing (Sirina) Camara due to suspension as well," said Lee.
"It will be a tough game but we cannot afford anything less than three points. "There is no choice for us but to win in order to close the gap to the leaders.
"DPMM FC's strength is in their attacking and we've been working on our defenders to cope with them. "Hopefully we will be able to do well and provide high quality football," he concluded. Kick off is at 8.15pm.
Meanwhile, the gap at the top of the S-League has been closed to one point after Warriors FC defeated basement dwellers Harimau Muda (Malaysian Under-21 football team) 4-2 at the Pasir Gudang Stadium in Johor last night.
DPMM FC are on 31 points while Warriors are now on 30 having played one game more.
The other match last night saw Hougang United FC edge Albirex Niigata (S) FC 1-0 at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore.