DPMM FC's Roy O' Donovan after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium in this Feb 18 file photo. The Irish striker scored all three goals in last night's 3-2 win over Hougang United FC to help put DPMM FC through to the last eight of the Singapore League Cup. BT file
DPMM FC striker Roy O' Donovan (L) eyes the ball during their S-League game against Harimau Muda II (Malaysian national Under-21 team) at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas on April 11. Infofoto
O' Donovan (R) struggles for the ball with a Harimau Muda II player in the same match. Infofoto
Two-time champions DPMM FC are through to the last eight of the Singapore League Cup after a Roy O'Donovan hat-trick lifted them to a 3-2 victory over Hougang United FC last night.
Brunei's only professional team finish top of Group D with four points while Hougang United will advance as runners-up with three points, sending defending champions Balestier Khalsa FC out of the July 7-25 competition. DPMM FC drew with Balestier 2-2 in their first group game on Friday.
Hougang United took the lead in the 30th minute after the ball took a deflection off DPMM FC defender Abdul Aziz Tamit and into his own net at the Hougang Stadium in Singapore. They got the ball into the net again five minutes later but were flagged for offside. O'Donovan equalised for the visitors with a simple header to beat Basil Chan in between the Hougang United sticks in the 57th minute.
DPMM FC - who won the competition in 2009 and 2012 - finally stuck their noses in front in the 77th minute with the Irishman firing from outside the box. Everything was going downhill for Hougang United after O'Donovan was brought down inside the box by Chan two minutes later, and the DPMM FC marquee signing stepped up to convert the ensuing spot kick to bring the scores to 3-1.
Hougang United kept up the chase and were given a lifeline after Geison Moura found the back of the net in the 81st minute. They had a good chance in the final minute of regulation time with a free-kick just outside the box, but the attempt went straight to the hands of DPMM FC custodian Wardun Yussof.
DPMM FC captain Rosmin Hj Md Kamis felt that it was a tale of two halves but was delighted with the performance, especially in the second half. "At half-time coach (Steve Kean) told us that we needed to pass the more to the forward players and also to keep on moving the ball," said Rosmin in an interview with The Brunei Times after the triumph.
"We had a poor performance in the first half but we moved up a gear and did well in the second half," he added. The other game saw Home United FC claim Group C with a 2-0 victory over Singapore Recreation Club at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore. Back-to-back goals in the span of two minutes in the first half sealed the deal for the Protectors.
Sirina Camara converted a spot kick in the 42nd minute before Fazli Ayob made it 2-0 the next minute for the victory. The result means that Woodlands Wellington will finish runners-up of the group and will face DPMM FC in the quarter-finals on Friday. Home United will take on Hougang United on Thursday.
Tanjong Pagar United FC finished top of Group A while Albirex Niigata (S) FC claimed the runners-up spot. Group B has yet to be decided with the matchup between Warriors FC and Geylang International FC today at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore. Both teams are already through to the next round at the expense of Tampines Rovers FC.
Kean's target is to win the competition, saying "This is a tournament we have done well for three years, and our aim in any competition is to win it," before the team started their campaign last week. "The good thing is that this is a fresh tournament, and we can now put the Singapore Cup and S-League aside," added the Scotsman.