DPMM FC's Roy O'Donovan (C), in action during an earlier match against Albirex Niigata (S) FC. DPMM FC progressed into the semi-finals of the Singapore Cup following their 6-4 aggregate win over Albirex Niigata (S) FC. Picture: BT file
DPMM FC are through to the semi-finals of the Singapore Cup for the first time after dispatching Albirex Niigata (S) FC 2-1 in the second leg of their quarter-final clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore last night.
Goals courtesy of Rodrigo Tosi and Azwan Ali Rahman in the opening half for DPMM FC before Norihiro Kawakami's consolation in the second half saw the Brunei side win the tie 6-4 on aggregate. Brunei's only professional team will face defending champions Home United FC in the last-four.
Albirex had the first shot on goal in the 15th minute but Keisuke Ota saw his attempt from outside the box fly straight into the hands of DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof. DPMM FC marquee signing Roy O'Donovan had a good chance to score in the next minute after turning to shoot from inside the box but Albirex keeper Kenjiro Ogino came up with an acrobatic save to put the ball out for a corner.
Rodrigo Tosi broke the deadlock for DPMM FC after heading the ball into the net off the ensuing corner by Azwan Ali Rahman. The Brunei side made it 2-0 after Azwan fired from a good pass over the top from their own half by Roberto Alviz in the 26th minute.
Kazuki Sakamoto found the back of the net for the Japanese outfits on the half hour mark but was whistled for offside. DPMM FC almost tripled their lead in first half injury time after Azwan picked out Ak Fakharazzi Pg Hassan on the right in the box but the latter saw his shot float just wide off the post.
O'Donovan had a good chance for DPMM FC in the 57th minute but his effort from a tight angle at the right failed to test the Albirex custodian. Albirex should have pulled one back in the 64th minute after Sakamoto got at the end of a cross from the left inside the box but Wardun did well to save the shot.
Wardun had his hands full, having to deal with two long range strikes by Kento Nagasaki in the 73rd and 76th minutes. DPMM FC looked content with their two-goal cushion as they sunk into their own half and soaked up the attacks of their Japanese opponents.
Wardun came to the rescue of DPMM FC again in the 85th minute, having to parry a shot off the crossbar Albirex finally got on the scoresheet after firing from close range at the far post off the ensuing corner. The Japanese defender almost ensured a draw but saw his header in the 93rd minute denied by the woodwork.
The victory was the fourth straight of the season for DPMM FC against Albirex, having won both their Singapore League meetings earlier. The other semi-final matchup will see Tampines Rovers go up against Balestier Khalsa FC. DPMM FC will now shift their focus to the Singapore League Cup which will run from July 7-25.
The two-time champions are drawn in Group D with Hougang United FC and Balestier. DPMM FC will face Balestier, in a rematch of last year's final which the Brunei side fell 4-0, in their opener at the Jalan Besar Stadium next Friday.
They will then take on Hougang on July 14 at the Hougang Stadium in Singapore.