Thursday, April 26, 2012

Opponent Watch: Brunei DPMM

DPMM FC's eight game unbeaten run was smashed last week following a one-nil loss to Home United at Jalan Besar Stadium. That would come as a blow to Vjeran Simunić's team as they were the only unbeaten team in the S.League prior to that match, and the Bruneian outfit will no doubt be looking to get back to winning ways in front of their home crowd in Bandar Seri Begawan.

The impressive 30,000 seater Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium
Photo Credit: Wikicommons

The Rams can expect to play in front of thousands of Bruneian fans in the 30,000 seater Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, in what may probably be the largest crowd they've ever seen in the S.League this season. The stadium, which was built to the tune of S$100 million in 1984, has seen an average crowd of 6298 [source] this season and it will be a hallowing experience for our boys to be playing in front of such a large, hostile crowd.

For doubters of Woodlands' ability to rough it out with the big boys, just ask Albirex Niigata's Koichi Sugiyama or Harimau Muda's Ong Kim Swee and chances are that they would tell you that the Rams are no easy pushovers. The boys showed plenty of character against both of these teams, and even though the odds were hugely stacked against the Rams, they fought hard, resulting in slim victories for both the White Swans and the Young Tigers. Hence, there is a fair chance that Woodlands would emerge winners from this fixture with the Bruneian Wasps.

Basiru Osman in action against Tanjong Pagar
Photo Credit: FAS

The main reason for the Wasps' success this year can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Ghanian striker Basiru Osman. The 22 year old has 4 goals to his name so far, netting against Tampines, SAFFC, Geylang United and Gombak United. Although Osman has drawn mainly blanks in his last 3 matches, his blistering pace is something that our defence has to look out for. Home United did a good job shutting out Osman and his Brazilian strike partner, the evergreen Rodrigo Gral, in their encounter last week and the Rams must look to do the same. While the Protectors showed clearly that they missed the services of the dependable Isa Halim, who policed (pun intended) their midfield with tenacity up to last season, the Rams can rely on the reliable pair of Han Yiguang and Armanizam Dolah to arrest any balls from DPMM's midfield to the duo of Osman and Gral.

DPMM's marauding winger - Shahrazen Said
Photo Credit: FAS

The boys will also need to contain the threat posed by Bruneian winger, Shahrazen Said. The bald 26 year old has scored 5 times already this season, and he was a handful for Tanjong Pagar the last time a S.League match was played here two weeks ago. A pale ghost of his usual self against Home United, Shahrazen was taken off after just 41 minutes last week (It was later reported that he was running a fever), and was replaced by his younger brother, Adi Said. The fearsome winger will be looking to bounce back and we will count on Duncan Elias and Guntur Djafril to snuff out this dangerman.

While the Wasps have been firing on all cylinders upfront, the same cannot be said of their defence, which seemed to have lost some confidence as of late. DPMM right back Shahrulrizal Rahman seems like the weakest link for the Bruneians coming into this match and it was his mistake that led to Frederic Mendy's goal last week.  

Moon will fancy his chances against the Wasps defence,
which seems to have lost their confidence as of late.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Moon Soon-Ho should have the opportunity to have some decent chances at DPMM's goal. Although Hussein Akil is still doubtful for this match, the Australian's blazing pace and trickery would be a handful for DPMM if he should feature. Otherwise, Farizal Basri should start once again with Moon upfront and he will be energized by that exquisite chip he scored last week. Shamsurin Abdul Rahman, who played so well in last week's friendly against Katong FC, should also be encouraged to continue his fine form in Bandar Seri Begawan as well.

Although the Bruneians expect an easy win over the Rams, we know that it will be a tight game and a fight to the finish.

Come on you Rams! Never Surrender!

Match Information
Date: Friday, 27th April, 2012 (8.15pm kick-off)
Venue: Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium

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Will we see this after tomorrow's match?
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

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