Leaders DPMM coast to S.League win vs. Harimau Muda
Brunei DPMM stretched their lead at the top of the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League standings after dispatching Harimau Muda 2-0 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on Saturday night.
The victory put Steve Kean's men four points clear of Albirex Niigata (S) at the summit with nine games remaining, leaving them in pole position to claim their first ever league crown.
It was DPMM's fourth straight win at home, where they have won seven times in the last 10 matches. Harimau Muda have now lost six of their last eight.
Paulo Sergio continued his scintillating form for the Wasps as he created the opener in the first half and then sealed victory with a goal midway through the second period.
The hosts were missing key duo Joseph Gamble and Azwan Ali through suspension, but that did not seem to affect their rhythm as they dominated right from the start against their Malaysian opponents.
Razip Ismail's Young Tigers, who had to deal with four injuries and one suspension of their own, hardly had a sniff throughout and could have gone behind after just four minutes.
Sergio's perfect free-kick delivery was met by Rosmin Kamis, but the DPMM skipper nodded his header over the bar.
Six minutes later, it was Boris Raspudic's turn to fail to connect with another set-piece from Sergio, the centre-back just missing the ball at the far post.
Sergio tried his luck in the 21st minute with a shot that went wide, before the deadlock was finally broken on the half hour mark.
A lovely pass from Sergio presented Maududi Hilmi with the opportunity to score his first ever S.League goal and the winger duly converted.
A rare attack from the visitors saw Wardun Yussof claw away defender Ashmawi Yakin's shot as the break approached, while Sergio was also denied by opposing custodian Ramdhan Hamid as DPMM sought to increase their lead.
Adam Nor Azlin was brought on after the break for Shahrul Igwan Samsudin in an effort by Razip to change things, but it was to no avail.
Ramdhan had to keep out another effort from Sergio within three minutes of the restart, but the Portuguese attacker was not to be denied.
In the 73rd minute, the former Sporting man struck a superb free-kick from 25 yards beyond Ramdhan to net for the third consecutive match, bringing his tally to eight goals in 12 league appearances.
This means that Sergio has scored in every game since his return from a month out due to injury and it was enough to kill off Harimau Muda, as Kean's men comfortably saw out the game.
Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari (Najib Tarif 72'), Maududi Hilmi, Hendra Azam (Yura Indera Putera 71'), Rosmin Kamis (C), Azwan Saleh, Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.
Harimau Muda: Ramdhan Hamid, Ashmawi Yakin, Syawal Nordin, Annas Rahmat, Nazirul Naim (C), Shahrul Igwan Samsudin (Adam Nor Azlin 46'), Amirul Hisyam, Irfan Zakaria, Akhir Bahari, Ridzuan Abdunloh, Kumaahran Sathasivam.