Harimau Muda unable to breakdown stubborn DPMM side who net first goal against the Malaysian side in the league this seasonIn a tightly contested affair at the Jalan Besar stadium, Harimau Muda and Brunei DPMM played out a lively 1-1 draw. The artificial turf did neither teams any favours and they found it tough to get their regular passing game going, resulting in misplaced passes and many interceptions.
The first half was hard fought with the game largely being played out in midfield. The first chance of the game fell to Ghanian Basiru Osman, but after good play on the wing, he could only shoot directly at the keeper.
Harimau Muda was causing problems to the DPMM defence, by moving the ball around the pitch quickly and pressing the ball high up the field but both teams struggled to make the killer pass in the final third despite good build up play.
The best chance for DPMM fell to Rodrigo Grahl in the 32nd minute. A cross from Rosmin Kamis was headed to him by Basiru but Rodrigo's shot went harmlessly across goal.
In the 34th minute, a good ball over the top by captain Affize Fisal was expertly taken down by Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor only for him to shoot agonizingly wide.
Harimau almost took the lead just before the break, via a fantastic free kick by Wan Zack Haikal but keeper Wardun Yussof pulled off an outstanding save to keep the teams level at the break.
The second half started in similar fashion with both teams struggling to find the breakthrough. Haikal continued to be a threat down the right flank driving at the DPMM defence with purpose but was let down by poor finishing by his teammates.
The breakthrough finally came in the 60th minute when Rodrigo latched on to a lobbed pass from Basiru and blasted in to the top corner giving the Harimau keeper no chance.
The goal sparked belief into the DPMM side and they attacked with fervor. Basiru charged down the flank and cut the ball back to Ivan Jerkovic but Rodrigo was inches wide from connecting to the ball and extending his side's lead.
Harimau coach Ong Kim Swee then made a bold double substitution sending on Thamil Arasu and Ahmad Hazwan to bolster the attack. Within minutes Harimau were level. On 68 minutes, Gary Robbat turned his defender on the edge of the box and took a shot. The keeper should have dealt with the shot better but made a mess of the catch and allowed the ball to creep in.
That goal sparked life into Harimau and they began to boss proceedings. Things got feisty on the touchline when Basiru went down to a fair but crunching challenge from Fadhli Shas. The coaches of both team exchanged heated words and Referee Abdul Malik had to step in to stop them. In the aftermath, referee Malik sent DPMM's goalkeeping coach Zainal to the stands for inciting the opponents.
In the 86th minute, a glorious chance fell to Ahmad Hawzan but he failed to connect with a inviting cross. Three minutes later, Saarvindran hit a glorious shot from the edge of the box but was unlucky to see it hit the inside of the post and bounce agonizingly wide. Harimau continued to press for the winning goal but failed to find the back of the net.
Coach Vjeran Simunic who had be complaining about his side's treatment was then sent to the stands close to final whistle for improper conduct on the touchline. DPMM was struggling to cope with the intense pressure and was relieved to hear the final whistle blow, ensuring both sides went home with a point each.