Tampines beaten into second place
Tampines likely to face defending champions Albirex in semis after failing to top group
BRUNEI DPMM FC 2
(Adi Said 24, Azim Izamuddin 86)
TAMPINES ROVERS 1
(Billy Mehmet 75-pen)
Tampines Rovers blew their chance to finish top in Group A of The New Paper League Cup when they were beaten 2-1 by Brunei DPMM FC at Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
The Stags suffered a late blow four minutes from time when a back pass from Jufri Taha led to goalkeeper Joey Sim making a silly mistake which allowed Azim Izamuddin to score the winning goal.
The win saw DPMM top the group on nine points and Tampines in second on six points.
Hougang United finished third on three points after beating Warriors FC 4-1 in the other match yesterday.
Despite the loss, Tampines qualified for the semi-finals with DPMM, but are likely to face defending champions and S.League leaders Albirex Niigata.
Albirex lead Group B on six points, three ahead of Home United. Albirex play Geylang International tonight, while Home take on Balestier Khalsa.
"We're all humans. Who wouldn't be disappointed when we conceded a goal like that?" Tampines coach Akbar Nawas said of the late DPMM winner.
"I'm sure Joey will be really disappointed with himself, but the team will back him up and so will I.
"We have to take the positive as well as the negative aspects from today's game and learn from there."
A perfectly taken free-kick just outside the box in the 24th minute by Adi Said gave DPMM the lead.
Just as when the players were coming out from the half-time break, a heavy downpour triggered the lightning warning system, forcing the players to return to the changing rooms.
Play resumed after 40 minutes.
Tampines restored parity when young gun Gautam Selvamany sent a through-ball to Jufri who was brought down in the box by Yura Indera in the 75th minute.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Billy Mehmet stepped up confidently to send DPMM goalkeeper Wardun Yussof the wrong way.
Just as it looked like Tampines might be able to hold on to the point, the silly mistake from Sim allowed Azim to score the late winner.
"I am delighted with the result but, honestly, I feel that Tampines played better than us tonight," said DPMM coach Steve Kean.
"They were able to play the ball better and create more chances than us. We missed (Paulo) Sergio today and that made it difficult for us to penetrate their defence."
Kean was pleased to avoid a potential semi-final clash with defending champions Albirex.
"If you're trying to win the competition like how we are, you're bound to meet the best teams," he said.
"In the last stages, in all honesty, we were just trying to keep winning."
- BRUNEI DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Brian McLean, Azwan Salleh (Hendra Azam 10), Azwan Ali (Shahrazen Said 90), Najib Tarif, Maudidi Kasmi (Azim Izamuddin 46), Helmi Zembin, Rafael Ramazotti, Adi Said, Abdul Aziz Tamit, Yura Indera Putera.
- TAMPINES ROVERS: Joey Sim, Ismadi Mukhtar, Jufri Taha, Noh Rahman, Jordan Webb, Fabian Kwok, Irwan Shah, Billy Mehmet, Ariyan Malik, Saifullah Akbar, Gautam Selvamany.
Goetze re-signs for Dortmund
Germany's World Cup-winning goalscorer Mario Goetze has returned to Borussia Dortmund after a frustrating three seasons with Bayern Munich, the clubs announced yesterday.
The clubs did not disclose the transfer fee, but Bild newspaper said Dortmund paid between 22 million euros ($33m) and 25m euros for the 24-year-old.
That would mean Bayern have incurred a loss of about 13m euros on the price they paid for Goetze.
Dortmund fans repeatedly jeered Goetze when he appeared for Bayern against his old team, but he said yesterday: "I want to try to convince everyone with my performances, especially those who are welcoming me with open arms."
In the off-season, Dortmund have lost defender Mats Hummels to Bayern, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United and defender Ilkay Guendogan to Manchester City. - AFP.