VIVA Rangers FC are into the first round of the DST Group Brunei FA Cup after beating Sabli's FC 3-1 at the Berakas Sports Complex last night.
Four non-league sides battled it out for the sole spot with games last Monday and Tuesday, and Viva Rangers will now go up against 11 DST Group Brunei Premier League (BPL) II teams in the first round on March 15.
Formerly known as MSN FC, Sabli's got on the scoresheet 10 minutes before the break after Md Ali Shofian Hj Aliakbar tapped home a cross from Shahrul Hj Sabtu on the right.
A ball over the top caught the entire Viva Rangers' defence napping, leaving just Shahrul and Md Ali Shofian in front of goal.
But with ex-DPMM FC hitman Shahrazen Hj Md Said in their side, Viva Rangers hardly needed to press the panic button.
Though he did not score last night, the striker who finished the 2006/2007 Malaysian Super League (MSL) season as the joint top scorer was alert on the ball and helped the team with his good vision and distribution.
Playing as a central midfielder, Shahrazen created space on the ball and chances for his strikers.
Md Malina Shah Hj Abd Malek equalised in the 40th minute when he reacted first to a shot from Md Sufri Hj Md Yussof which Sabli's goalkeeper Md Hardi Daud found too hot to handle.
Viva Rangers took the lead just two minutes into the second half through Md Firaziziamirul Nazim Hj Abd Ghani, whose cross bounced off a defender and into goal.
It was 3-1 in the 61st minute when Md Amin Matnoor curled a free-kick from well outside the left of the box that sailed into the goal.
Shahrazen nearly found the back of the net in the 90th minute, but Md Hardi did well to dive to his right and save the striker's well-placed shot.
"It was a very tough game ... But I think Rimba Star FC are better," said Shahrazen, referring to their opponents on Monday who they beat 3-2 after extra-time to qualify for last night's match.
"The team (Sabli's) are strong but their only problem is their defence. Our target was always to reach the tournament proper and I think our team spirit won us the game.
"Our next target? The draw is not done yet but we'll want to win our next game," he added.
The draw for the first round of the tournament will be held on Monday at the Football Federation Brunei Darussalam office in Kiulap.
Viva Rangers will face off against 11 DST Group Brunei Premier League (BPL) II teams in the first round on March 15.
The 10 BPL I teams will only see action in the second round.