Salim Moin: We were the better team by far

The Woodlands Wellington coach felt that his side were unlucky in their 1-0 defeat to Brunei DPMM, while counterpart Vjeran Simunic was a relieved man
It was a happy Easter for DPMM FC head coach Vjeran Simunic, after the Croatian guided his charges to a 1-0 victory over Woodlands Wellington last night.

Speaking to the media after the match, the 57-year-old cut a relieved figure after watching his side fail to convert bountiful chances.

"We knew it wouldn't be easy against Woodlands [as] they are a good team,” Simunic explained.

“We created a lot of chances but didn't score as many goals, but sometimes that is how it is in football. It was a difficult but sweet victory.

"The man of the match for me today was Hendra [Azam]. He was a little bit tired at the end because he hasn't been playing as many games, but he stopped [Khalid] Hamdaoui and had him in his pocket for the whole game.

"It could have been two or three nil, but if we had made one mistake it would have been 1-1 like the Hougang [United] game [where they drew 3-3], but the important thing is that our fans are happy and we have moved up the table after the win.

Like many previous visitors to the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, Woodlands struggled to find their feet in the opening exchanges of the game, but Simunic suggested that his opponents had perhaps showed his charges too much respect.

"I think today they showed us too much respect and played a bit more defensively, or DPMM did well to push them back," he opined.

"They were playing with four strikers and we were taking a lot of risks - our wingers were playing high up the pitch and we were very offensive, but I am very satisfied and even though the result suffered, we can enjoy our performance.”

Counterpart Salim Moin, who was sent to the stands 10 minutes before the final whistle, was less than happy with the performance of referee Ahmad A'Qashah, whom he felt had made a few "uncharacteristic" calls during the match.

"We were very unlucky today,” he proclaimed. “We had the chances. We were the better team by far and we forced DPMM FC to do a lot of defending throughout the game.

"The referee made some uncharacteristic calls, like rewarding Dino Drpic [with] only a yellow card after he had denied Hamdaoui a clear goal-scoring opportunity, for which he should have seen red and it helped DPMM FC win the game.”

The Rams were penned in their own half for much of the first 45 minutes but a change in personnel in the second half, most notably the introduction of Moon Soon-Ho, almost earned them a point.

"We came here to not concede any points,” Salim explained. “We put three [men] forward and were very attacking but for the first 20 minutes, we were unsettled.

"We changed the midfield and changed the strikers, and it changed the game. I'm sure that if we had scored an equalizer, the floodgates would have opened."