DPMM FC's Joe Gamble (L) chases down the ball against an Albirex Niigata (S) FC player during their Singapore Cup quarter-final match on Friday. Picture: Courtesy of S-League
DPMM FC learned their lessons well after their first leg slip up against Albirex Niigata (S) FC in the Singapore Cup quarter-finals.
The Brunei-side squandered a three-goal cushion but still prevailed 4-3 after an injury time winner courtesy of Roy O'Donovan at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore. Brunei's only professional team opened up a two-goal lead in the first half of the second leg and held firm to win 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Friday.
The result sees them claim their clash 6-4 on aggregate to move into the semi-finals of the competition for the first time. "We were probably more scared because of the first leg. We were in a comfortable position and Albirex came back," said DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean in a post match interview.
"But I said to the boys at halftime that Albirex never stop. It doesn't matter if it is two, three or four. They will keep coming and creating chances. "I thought they were definitely better in the second half. It was very similar to the first game," he added.
"We were better in first half of both legs while they were better in both the second halves where we got our noses in front," continued the Scotsman. On the other hand, Albirex head coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama felt that their first half tactics cost them the match.
"We played too defensive in the first half," said Okuyama. "We didn't use enough players for offence especially for first half," he said. DPMM FC will next face defending champions Home United FC in the semi-finals.
Home United eased into the last-four after beating Loyola Meralco Sparks FC of the Philippines 4-1 on aggregate. 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.