DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof (front row C) in a selfie with teammates after last night's win.Courtesy of Wardun Yussof
DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof (C) after a S-League game at the Hassnal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas in 2012. Wardun saved two penalties in their 3-0 penalty shootout win against Geylang International FC last night to reach the final of the Singapore League Cup. BT file
Wardun Yussof saved two penalties to propel DPMM FC to their third straight Singapore League Cup final after defeating Geylang International FC 3-0 a penalty shootout last night.
After a goalless 120 minutes, Irish striker Roy O'Donovan converted the first spotkick before Wardun saved the first Geylang attempt by Leonel Felice. Brazilian forward Rodrigo Tosi had his shot saved but Geylang failed to take advantage, with their second effort by Khairulnizam Jumahat denied by the crossbar. Midfielder Roberto Alviz then made it 2-0 before DPMM FC glovesman Wardun put up another save from Hafiz Nor at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Irish midfielder Joe Gamble then converted the next kick to send the two-time champions into the final. Not only will Friday's final against Tanjong Pagar United FC be the third consecutive Singapore League Cup final for Brunei's only professional team, it will also be the fourth in as many years they have participated in the tournament.
Tanjong Pagar defeated Hougang United FC 4-2 on penalties at the Queenstown Stadium in Singapore in last night's other semi-final. The game also ended 0-0 after the end of extra-time. When contacted by The Brunei Times, Wardun said he knew the importance of making the first save and credited his teammates for putting up a strong showing leading to the victory.
"I've seen the first penalty taker before in a previous game," he told The Brunei Times after the triumph. "I knew that the first save was important because it is a big confidence booster for the team. "Overall I thought we played well.
"Geylang were very stubborn in defence and looked to go on counterattacks," he added. Including both meetings in the Singapore League (S-League), last night's result was the third straight draw for the Brunei side against Geylang.
DPMM FC drew 1-1 against their opponents at the Bedok Stadium in Singapore on March 28 and their second encounter of the year saw them play out to a goalless draw at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium in Berakas on June 14.
Current Singapore League (S-League) leaders, DPMM FC won the Singapore League Cup in 2009 and 2012 and reached the final last year only to lose 4-0 to Balestier Khalsa FC.
According to Geylang International FC's facebook page, O'Donovan had a good chance to break the deadlock in the 68th minute of last night's semi-final but Geylang custodian Joey Sim got his hand to push the ball away.
DPMM FC substitute Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris had a good chance to put DPMM FC in front in the 77th minute but Sim was his equal and put up another save. Hafiz Nor was put through on goal in the 84th minute but was brought down by Wardun just outside the box. The latter was shown a yellow card for the challenge, which put Geylang in a dangerous position to score.
Felice took the ensuing deadball but saw his effort just over the crossbar. The Argentine came close to breaking the deadlock in the 90th minute but saw his header saild off the crossbar, with the ball then being cleared away for a corner. DPMM FC earned their spot in the last four after they outscored Woodlands Wellington FC 3-1 last Thursday.
Geylang booked their berth in the semi-final following a 3-1 win over Albirex Niigata (S) FC last Friday. DPMM FC started out their Group D campaign in the Singapore League Cup with a 2-2 draw against Balestier Khalsa FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium on July 11.
They then defeated Hougang United 3-2 at the Hougang Stadium in Singapore last Monday to top the group. The Brunei side scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to secure a 3-1 comeback win over Woodlands Wellington FC in the quarter-finals at the Jalan Besar Stadium last Thursday. On the other hand, Tajong Pagar United FC kicked off their Group A campaign with a 4-0 victory over Albirex Niigata (S) FC at the Queenstown Stadium on July 7.
They finished top of the group with a 7-1 thrashing of the Police Sports Association at the same venue on July 13. They advanced into the semi-finals after a 1-0 extra timer winner over Singapore League title contenders Warriors FC last Friday.