Fri, 18 Jul 2003

SAFF into next stage at LG Cup

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

An injury time goal by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAFF) FC skipper Nenad Bacina shattered DPMM of Brunei Darussalam's dream of qualifying for the next round of the LG Cup ASEAN Club Championship.

In the last Group B game, played in Gresik, East Java, on Thursday, DPMM, which needed a win to secure the runner-up spot in the group, was leading 2-1 when Bacina came forward late in the game to dash its hopes with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.

Both teams suffered defeats in their opening matches against eventual group leader Perak FC of Malaysia, SAFF losing 0-2 and DPMM 0-3.

The little-known DPMM surprised many by its challenging play against SAFF throughout the game. The tiny players took the lead through its Nigerian skipper Oleseye Ajayi in the 47th minute.

Ajayi's hand injury following his collision a couple of minutes after the first goal reduced DPMM's intensity in attack.

However, DPMM still managed to exploit the SAFF's porous defense as a result of the latter's all-out attacking options and doubled the lead to 2-0 after Hairoddin found the net in the 74th minute.

A palpable win for DPMM turned to disaster when its defender Amiryadi Hj Tahir was awarded a second yellow card in the 80th minute by Indonesian referee Setiyono.

A few minutes later, Mohammad Noor Tanjong scored a goal for DPMM after miscuing a kick from SAFF's Jeyakanth Jeyapal.

DPMM's nightmare finally came in the injury time, with Bacina being the punisher.

As runner-up of the group, SAFF will face Petrokimia Putra in the quarterfinals, while Perak FC will take on Samart United of Cambodia.