Two goals in the last quarter of the game from the second-placed Japanese side condemned the Bruneian side to their third home defeat as they paid for not taking their chances
Albirex Niigata left it late to seal all three points at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium as goals from Kazuki Sakomoto and Masatake Sato handed them a 2-0 win over a wasteful Brunei DPMM on Friday night.
The Japanese satellite team were staying true to coach Koichi Sugiyama’s philosophy of possession, utilising goalkeeper Hiroaki Hara as an 11th outfield player as they sought to frustrate the home side with their overly patient build-up play.
The first real attempt on goal came courtesy of Azwan Salleh’s cultured left-foot when the midfielder let fly from 25 yards, but Hara silently watched the ball sail harmlessly wide of his goal.
New signing Arturas Rimkevicius saw two half chances go begging as he first failed to direct a Rosmin Kamis corner goalwards, before being denied valiantly by Kento Fukuda’s recovery challenge after the Lithuanian had wrestled free from the Albirex defender.
Bruno Castanheira then squandered a decent opportunity for the White Swans to take the lead in the 20th minute when he fired straight at Wardun Yussof after a well-worked counter-attack.
Kento Nagasaki then had a few fans on the edge of their seats after weaving inside and out of his marker before getting a shot off in the box. The 23-year-old’s effort was fumbled by Wardun, but Tales dos Santos was on hand to hoof away the rebound.
To their credit, Albirex’s defence was very compact and disciplined, and every ball that came into the box was headed clear or punched away by Hara, which was underlined by a period of four successive Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman long throws, all of which failed to produce a result.
Adi Said was thrown on after the restart as DPMM sought to seize control of proceedings and the 23-year-old certainly made an impact, albeit minimal.
Joao Moreira was having an unusually quiet game but almost sparked it into life when he sent a powerful header off the back of Rosmin’s corner agonizingly wide.
Nagasaki was left rubbing his head when a quick exchange of passes with Sakamoto ended with the former curling a shot round the outside of Wardun’s post.
Adi’s dipping free-kick was then punched clear by Hara, who did well to turn the forward’s cross-cum-shot over his bar not long after.
Nagasaki then hit the post with a well-struck free-kick in the 77th minute, with Castanheira’s follow up blocked bravely by Wasps skipper Rosmin.
However, DPMM’s failure to get the ball out of their own half immediately thereafter resulted in Sakomoto smashing a 25-yard drive into the back of Wardun’s goal for the lead.
DPMM were then made to pay for some slack defending when an unmarked Sato headed Shingo Suzuki’s corner in at the near post in the 85th minute to earn the White Swans their biggest winning margin in the S.League this season.