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Sotirovic returns to haunt DPMM as Hougang claim S.League draw

Brunei DPMM blew an opportunity to go top of the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League table on Wednesday night after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hougang United.

The third-placed hosts would have leapfrogged leaders Warriors FC to take top spot on goal difference had they seen out their first half lead.

However, that was not to be as a familiar face returned to haunt the hosts at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium.

Vuk Sotirovic had scored on his debut in Hougang's 1-0 victory in the TNP League Cup last month when both teams met in the group stages.

It was the case of lightning striking DPMM twice as the Serbian, playing his first league game after recovering from injury, netted the equaliser midway through the second half to claim a draw in Brunei.

DPMM, who have now recorded only two victories in their last nine games, dominated the game but were punished for their profligacy.

Azwan Ali smashed a close-range effort off the bar just two minutes into the match, as Steve Kean's charges sought three precious points.

Shahrazen Said, the replacement for the suspended Paulo Sergio, was then denied by a desperate challenge as he looked to pull the trigger.

Hougang United claimed a vital S.League draw in Brunei thereby preventing DPMM from climbing to top of the standings. Photo credit: S.League

The pressure continued as Brian McLean put a header inches wide, while Hendra Azam had a shot deflected behind.

Azwan broke the deadlock with his first goal of the season in the 33rd minute. After an initial attempt came off Tengku Mushadad, the winger lashed in the rebound from close range.

Two minutes later, Rafael Ramazotti wasted a great chance to double DPMM's advantage as he turned Shahrazen's cross over.

In the second half, the hosts continued from where they had left off at the break. Ridhuan Barudin first had to dive full stretch to save from Hendra, and then watch Shahrazen blast a shot into the side netting.

To add to the Cheetahs' couple of half chances in the first half, another one fell in the way of Sotirovic in the 62nd minute. But he failed to connect an overhead kick attempt.

However, he was more clinical with the next opportunity which came his way seven minutes later.

A swift counter attack from Hougang caught DPMM cold and Sotirovic applied the finishing touch with a flourish as he coolly slotted the leveller past Wardun Yussof, who was hardly troubled otherwise.

The Bruneians, who must be sick at the sight of Sotirovic by now, could not muster a response beyond two Azwan efforts that were saved as they were left to rue their wastefulness.

Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari, Hendra Azam (Yura Indera Putera 81'), Joseph Gamble, Rosmin Kamis (C), Azwan Ali, Shahrazen Said, Rafael Ramazotti.

Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin, Yuki Uchiyama, Kunihiro Yamashita, Tengku Mushadad (Lau Meng Meng 66'), Delwinder Singh, Nurhilmi Jasni (C), Carlos Delgado, Taufiq Ghani, Fazli Jaffar (Fairoz Hasan 83'), Vuk Sotirovic, Diego Gama.

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