Marquee signing Lennart Thy struggles as Lion City Sailors work to a 2-0 win over Brunei DPMM

Marquee signing Lennart Thy struggles as Lion City Sailors work to a 2-0 win over Brunei DPMM

SINGAPORE – All eyes at the Jalan Besar Stadium were on Lion City Sailors’ big signing Lennart Thy, who made his debut in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) against Brunei DPMM on June 18.

However, it was a performance to forget for the German striker, who squandered a series of golden chances before being replaced by midfielder M. Anumanthan after 69 minutes.

The striker, signed from Dutch side PEC Zwolle, where he scored 13 goals during the 2023/24 Eredivisie season, had to watch from the bench as the Sailors claimed a 2-0 win thanks to late goals from Shawal Anuar and Maxime Lestienne.

Shawal broke the deadlock in the 86th minute with an acrobatic scissor kick from close range, before Belgian Lestienne scored a spectacular goal in the final minute of stoppage time.

Thy, 32, told The Straits Times: “Well, we won, but we should have scored more, especially in the first half. We got the three points and that is important. I should have scored, but in the end it takes 90 minutes and it’s a good win.”

Sailors coach Aleksandar Rankovic added: “I think we played very well, the only thing missing was the goal. The defense was very good, the goalkeeper deserves all the credit. We were lucky to score towards the end of the game and that was a shame for them.”

The Sailors were officially the away team, as the match was moved from DPMM’s home ground to Jalan Besar due to “technical difficulties”, but they benefited from the absence of key DPMM central defenders: Australian Patrick Flottmann (injury) and Bruneian Yura Indera. Putera (personal reasons) – to dominate the game.

However, the opening goal proved difficult to achieve, with Thy as the main culprit.

After missing with a header in the 12th minute, Thy wasted a one-on-one chance eight minutes later before seeing his left-footed volley cleverly saved by goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski in the 25th minute.

DPMM almost took a shock lead in the 68th minute but Mexican striker Julio Cruz rattled the crossbar with his 30-yard effort before Sailors made the late breakthroughs to maintain their 100 percent record after three games.

DPMM coach Rui Capela, although visibly disappointed, was proud of his team’s performance. He said: “We came today to play for the three points. My players played a tough match, I think the 0-0 is a fair result for us. But this is football.”

Although Thy failed to make the desired impact, Rankovic remains confident in his star signing’s abilities.

After finishing the season with PEC Zwolle in May, Thy had to forego his holiday to prepare for his debut with the Sailors a month later.

Rankovic said: “The substitution was pre-planned. Lennart has just arrived and he has to get used to it. He is very tired at the moment, so we have to be very careful with him. In a few weeks we will see another Lennart.

“He is someone who has proven he can score goals at the highest level, so I have no doubt he can do that here.”