Garena Young Lions concluded their Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League season with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Brunei DPMM FC at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
Yeo Hai Ngee’s successful penalty conversion was rendered inconsequential following strikes from Azwan Ali Rahman and Rafael Ramazotti to give the Wasps their fifth win of the campaign.
Brunei DPMM FC took the lead five minutes in when an unmarked Azwan Ali volleyed home from inside the box off Ramazotti’s knockdown.
The Young Lions however leveled matters 16 minutes later when Yeo sent Wardun Yussof the wrong way from the spot after Brunei DPMM FC skipper Rosmin Kamis had given away the penalty.
But Young Lions custodian Hairul Syirhan was unable to stop the Wasps from restoring their one-goal cushion just three minutes later, as Ramazotti rose highest to send a looping header over his reach.
The remainder of the first half petered out though as clear chances were few and far between.
Young Lions head coach Vincent Subramaniam then reacted by bringing on Ryan Syaffiq for Hafiz Sulaiman at the break in an attacking move as he sought for the equaliser.
The Wasps came close to scoring another goal with Azwan Ali poking narrowly over after racing onto Hendra Azam’s lofted pass on 52 minutes.
The Young Lions then conjured a couple of half-chances at the other end but they were unable to trouble Wardun.
In the 64th minute, the 2015 S.League winners could have pulled further away but the tame shot fired by Adi Said, who latched onto a slide rule pass, posed no threat to Hairul.
There was one final chance for the developmental side to salvage a point but substitute Taufik Suparno headed inches wide after capitalising on a defensive lapse.
The result meant the Young Lions finished 2017 in ninth with six points while Brunei DPMM FC lie a spot above in eighth with 17 points to their name.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Vincent Subramaniam: “We thought we could finish off the season with at least a draw but failed to do that. However, the boys performed well; they were getting their passes right instead of hoofing the balls up.
“We didn’t press them from the start because we knew it would take a lot from us if we had done that. But we managed to press DPMM in the second half and it was good to see.
“I’m pleased with the progress I’ve seen from the boys since taking over (two months ago) and I hope most of them will earn contracts with the other S.League clubs for 2018.”
Garena Young Lions: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Shahrin Saberin (Shameer Aziq 73’), Faizal Roslan (C), Hafiz Sulaiman (Ryan Syaffiq 46’), Amirul Adli, Ammirul Emmran (Taufik Suparno 55’), Yeo Hai Ngee, Hami Syahin, Syahrul Sazali, Muhaimin Suhaimi