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Stalemate is bittersweet for Kean
Sunday, July 13, 2014
DPMM FC's Roberto Alviz competes with a player from Balestier Khalsa last night in their Group D match of the Singapore League Cup. The match ended 2-2. Picture: Courtesy of S.League

DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean was relieved to walk away with a point after a 2-2 draw against Balestier Khalsa FC in their Singapore League Cup Group D match on Friday night.

Brunei's only professional team managed to get in front twice with goals from Rodrigo Tosi and Roy O'Donovan respectively but a brace by Goran Ljubojevic was enough to see them share the spoils at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

Tosi gave the Brunei side the lead in the 57th minute from the penalty spot before Ljubojevic equallised in the 69th minute. O'Donovan helped DPMM FC regain the lead in the 78th minute before the Croatian struck again for the Tigers seven minutes from time.

"It was a strange game. I thought we were doing well putting crosses into the box, overlapping and then for some reason we stopped doing that," said Kean to the S-League. "The game became a little bit stretched and in all honesty I thought they were going to win it at the end because we couldn't get out of the box," he added.

The Scotsman felt that it was a fair result but was disappointed that they squandered the lead twice in the encounter. "I'm disappointed because twice we got our noses in front but we didn't kill the game off then we gave away too many set plays and let them build momentum," said Kean.

"To be honest, I was hoping to win today (Friday night) and make many changes but now I will make changes but probably not as many as I would have," added the 46-year-old. A win would have guaranteed DPMM FC a spot in the quarter-finals and knock the defending champions out of the tournament.

Instead a draw leaves Balestier hanging on by a thread as DPMM FC only require a draw or not to lose by more than a three-goal margin against Hougang United FC on Monday to progress to the next round. On the other hand, Balestier head coach Marko Kraljevic was disappointed not to finish at the winning end against the current S-League leaders.

Balestier definitely needed more luck in the matchup with efforts by Park Kang Jin and Ahmad Syahir in the 73rd and 75th minutes denied by the woodwork. "I think we should play at Jalan Besar every game, we play better here," said Kraljevic.

"But I am not happy with the result, it was 1-1, then 2-2, and then we should have scored to make it 3-2 to be able to hope to go to the next round. Now there is hope but we need luck," added the Tigers coach.

"We should have won, they had their chances, but we had ours. We needed to win to go to the next round," he concluded. Tampines Rovers FC were knocked out of the competition after suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Warriors FC in Group C last night.

Agu Casmir finished with a hat-trick for the Warriors while Jacob Butler and Fahrudin Mustafic got on the scoresheet for the Stags at the Clementi Stadium in Singapore. The result means that they finish with 0 points in the group after losing 2-1 to Geylang International FC in their opener at the Jalan Besar Stadium last Monday.

The tournament continues today with Tanjong Pagar United FC taking on the Police Sports Association (PSA) in Group A at the Queenstown Stadium in Singapore.

Courtesy from Brunei Times