Bacina: No reason to panic, we are still top of the League

The Tampines Rovers coach was cool about his side's last-gasp draw against DPMM, which meant the Clementi-based side lost their 100% streak for the season
By En Lim

Following his side’s 1-1 draw with Tampines Rovers at the Clementi Stadium, Brunei DPMM coach Vjeran Simunic was understandably frustrated, as his team let slip a lead in the dying minutes of the game to come away with a point instead.

Reflecting on the game, Simunic remained satisfied with the team’s overall performance in a tough match against the unbeaten league leaders.

“We gave a wonderful football lesson, it was a fantastic game,” he proclaimed.

Commenting on the controversial yellow card given to substitute Adi Said for a perceived dive in the penalty box, Simunic was adamant that it was a clear foul and not a dive.

“The yellow card was a stupid decision, it was a shame for football,” he said as he shook his head in disappointment.

Sharing his thoughts on the final result, the Croatian was disappointed as it was not a fair result for his DPMM team.

“It was absolutely not [fair], [Tampines] did not deserve a point,” he said.

However, Tampines coach Nenad Bacina begged to differ as he felt that his team more than deserved the point in the bag.

“We have to be happy with the point seeing that we scored in the last minute, but I think we deserve more than one point,” he reflected.

Bacina was glad that patience eventually paid off for his team in what turned out to be a tough match that saw them play a slow and patient game in their search for a goal.

“We expected them to sit back, and counter-attack, but we controlled the game in midfield and put them under pressure,” he explained.

When asked about his thoughts on the controversial yellow card Adi Said and DPMM’s claims for a penalty, Bacina remained cool and confident that the correct decision was made.

“I think it was a good decision by the referee,” he calmly said.

On the line-up he put out for the match tonight, Bacina admitted that he had rotated his players with the Albirex Niigata game on Friday in mind.

“We were forced to rotate the players, our squad is not too strong in numbers due to injuries to certain players, Ismadi [Mukhtar] is out due to a motorcycle injury, Jamil [Ali] came off because of his groin,” he shared.

Despite losing the 100% win streak tonight, Bacina remained upbeat about his team’s chances in the League.

“We are still the only unbeaten team in the League so far, and we have to stay positive," he said.

"I don’t see the reason why we should panic, we are still on top [of the League table]."

Tampines next face Albirex in the top of the table clash on April 19, while DPMM will be facing Balestier Khalsa at the Toa Payoh Stadium on the same day.